I'm currently sitting in a small cafe in Cle Allum with the rest of the AHAB3 crew. It's about 11:10 and we're drinking milkshakes and eating burgers! For those of you who don't know what we're doing, this project is called AHAB3: Another High Altitude Balloon. Careful planning started months back, and the plan is finally underway. We're launching this balloon to the edge of space so it can take pictures. We're caravanning to Eastern Washington so we can launch the balloon at noon tomorrow. The flight will last around 2.5 hours, and we're not sure how high it'll go. All we can say is that it'll go as high as possible till it bursts, and then a parachute will be deployed to guide it back down, hopefully safely. We're tracking it via GPS so our chase vans can find it when it lands.
I got to the lab at about 5:00, and people slowly started to show up. Everyone arrived with bags, suitcases, ham equipment etc. We have a total of 4 cars in our caravan so all of our equipment was crowded together, but we ended up fitting it just fine. The caravan communicates via ham radio. We're always in constant contact, sometimes we get a little crazy though. Sirus likes to provide tech support for his software using an Indian accent. Amy likes to be the Hackerbot mom and tell us bedtime stories.
We left lab around 9:00 and got to a small diner in Cle Allum at about 10. It's nearly midnight now and I'm blogging from the car again! We should arrive at our lodge at around 2AM.
Regarding blogging from the car, I'm currently the only one with internets! I'm using a Sprint CDMA dongle and although it has an awkward name it's quite fast. I'm using an Asus EeePC which is being charged by an inverter plugged into 3ric's car. With internet access we've been able to look stuff up on the wiki, check email, and have access to all those other spiffy resources that we'd be otherwise without.
It seems like the Hackerbot crew is a malfunction magnet. First off Chicken's MP3 player failed with a large pop and spark, and then some magical blue smoke. After that, we found that Adam's laptop was giving off interference on the EXACT APRS frequency we are using to track each other. Adam disabled his sound card and now all seems to be okay. Other than that our stuff is working well... but I may have just jinxed us all.
I'm about to go to sleep, due to the fact that it's 12AM and breakfast is at 8AM. My apologies if my post is sort of incoherent, I'm sleepy. Expect edits! Check back for more updates, and make sure to follow go_high on Twitter for balloon position updates starting tomorrow.
Here's Adam's interfering laptop.