For half a year we worked on an automatic drifting stratostat and upon completion we wondered – “What should we run?”.
It would be wrong to launch a commercial cargo on an untested device, as well as to leave the device without a payload.
Taking into account the loss of interest of the state structures of Russia to automatic stratostats, we saw the task in at least indirectly, but to recall ADA (automatic drifting balloon).
To do this, we conducted a survey in one of the VKontakte space communities, in which it was possible to select a payload (Starship, James Webb telescope, Tesla red with Starman, red penny with Rogozin, Hawking figure, cactus).
Although I wanted to send a cactus, as there is an opinion about its ability to absorb radiation, but the audience gave more respect to Rogozin, which is also not bad.
About the launching stratostat
The main objectives of the launch were to test hypotheses about the technologies of long flight, drift in the stratosphere. I also wanted to test long-range radio channels, search engines and other innovations.
The launch was carried out not on an amateur latex meteo-probe, but on our automatic stratostat – or as it is called abroad, the Zero-Pressure Long Duration Balloon.
As the name implies, one of its main features is to maintain the “zero” gas pressure inside the gas envelope, which allows it, when bleeding off excess expanding helium, not to break from the excess pressure, but to bleed it and drift in the jet currents, periodically dropping the ballast (duration flight without ballast for 1-2 days, with ballast – from several days to two months).
Work on the device ended in early May, and we waited for flight weather until early June. Four days before launchwe have agreed a flight plan with Rosavivatsiya, after which, on the launch day, we received permission at 06:00 am.
Despite the first tests of this kind of apparatus, the mission as a whole went according to plan. The first step with Rogozin reached its height and drifted for 30 minutes, then undocked and began landing on a parachute. The second stage (ball-probe) began to re-gain height, then reached neutral buoyancy and drifted for 16 hours.
Loon is creating cellular coverage in remote areas, NASA and CNES are investigating cosmic radiation, AirBus and Boeing are testing their equipment on stratostats, while in Russia and the CIS this launch was the first launch of such a device since 2013.
We hope that the position of the industry of automatic stratostats in our country will change, and this, though a small event, will attract attention.