The main business of the High-Altitude Balloon (HAB) project is to send up payloads up to 30km altitude on helium filled balloons, track them and pick it up when the balloon bursts and descends to the ground. We design the electronics required to survive the harsh conditions of these altitudes. There are no prerequisites, but we value knowledge in electronics as the payload is tracked using radio. In April 2018 we successfully launched and recovered our payload, a 360° camera and have footage from that flight.
In 2018-19, the High altitude ballooning group started working on sending a balloons around the world on a super pressure balloon. We launched 14 prototype trackers to the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Poland. We are now designing the Pico tracker MKII, solar powered that will take it around the world.
In 2020-2021, we continue to develop the picotracker for a round the world flight. At this point of time(8/10/20) we have launched 21 flights. The most recent flight, ICSPACE21, was last seen over Japan.
We are open to ideas for launching other payloads such as astrophotography equipment and possibly multi-day long endurance balloon flights with very light payloads.
We meet on Friday 6pm in the EEE building. The project leader is Medad Newman from the Dyson School of Design Engineering. Most of our weather balloon launches are held at the East Anglican Rocketry Society (EARS) launch site near Cambridge while our smaller super pressure balloon flights are launched from London.
Most recent launches and development
- Launch of balloon ICSPACE25
- ICSPACE23 launch
- First (unconfirmed) circumnavigation of the Earth by IC Space Society balloon: ICSPACE22
- ICSPACE21: Flight to Japan and ICSPACE20
- Launch of ICSPACE19 LoRa balloon flight
- LoRa Balloon flights to Austria and Slovakia
- Long range LoRa Balloon tracker launch from London
- Balloon flights to Poland and Germany
- New pico balloon flight duration milestone reached
- Cross country pico balloon flight
HAB kicked off the year with an early launch in November, with an altitude of 28.5 km but an unfortunate loss of the payload.
On the 21st April 2018, HAB launched the payload they’d been hard at work on all year to great success, aquiring some truly amazing 360° footage from an altitude of 30km!
In 2012/13 ICSEDS(now ICSS) had a space race with two teams competing to produce low-cost HABs that would take photos of the Earth from space. Both teams launched successfully, but problems with our ground station meant that neither balloon was recovered. We’ve now invested in a much better ground station to prevent such a disaster from happening again!
The helium for our balloons was kindly provided by the Imperial College Chemical Engineering Department.