First Meeting 2019: High Altitude Ballooning

Have you ever wondered where helium balloons go when you let go?

Probably not that far.

But you can modify the balloon so it goes a lot further

  • Use a much larger balloon, and underfill i
  • Or make the balloon out of a material that’s not going to pop so easily

This is a superpressure balloon

This guy holds the world record for the longest superpressure balloon flight

744 days

Student High Altitude Ballooning

Google Loon

Fast Iterations

Equally Large Budget

Fast Iterations

Low Weight == Tiny Budget

They’ve asked us to put a paper plane on their flight at the end of October. It’ll go inside the balloon and get released when the balloon bursts at about 30km

They’ve managed to pull off this trick before, but the paper plane didn’t have a GPS tracker. Ours will!

We’ll be close to the world record for the highest launch of a paper plane, although we’re not making it an offical record attempt.


  1. Needs to comply to CAA rules for balloon payloads (<20g/cm^2 from all angles)
  2. The total mass of all elements needs to be <100g
  3. Needs to fit through the 6cm diameter hwoyee 1200 balloon neck
  4. The plane body needs to be entirely made out of paper (paper straws can be used for integrity) with no sharp edges

The tracker weighs about 15g, and it’s about 50mm * 12mm * 20mm with the battery attached. It has wire antennas protruding from either end too.

Deadline: Sunday 12th October? We’ll have another meeting then to judge which one we’d like to use for the launchFeel free to enter as teams or individuals.

Don’t take it too seriously! We don’t know how to make a paper space plane either..

What else could we do?

  • Launch our own pico balloons
  • Try to network them
  • Try new modulation schemes and communication techniques
  • Build a permanent ground station

The pico tracker is awesome because it’s so cheap (~£30) and light. We can afford to fail and loose the tracker!


We could give these away to schools – with instructions and our help – and see what happens….