I'm still getting things prepped and ready to go. I have a launch date set for August 21st. Just about everything is ready. I finished the parachute last month. It's a 4 foot diameter spherical design. This size was determined by using the formulas and design found in the previously mentioned Near Space ebook. I estimated a payload weight of 7 pounds (6 pound capsule + 1 pound parachute). The actual capsule weight is going to be about 4 pounds, and the actual parachute weight came in at about 13 ounces, so the parachute is a little oversized. That will slow it's descent rate, but I want to also use it with future capsules that could get up to 6 pounds.
The 14 inch wooden hoop is attached to the shroud lines between the parachute and the payload. It prevents the lines from getting tangled and twisted during flight.
I also made the balloon filling nozzle last weekend. A very easy project since the hose I purchased already had the fittings attached. It did take a little longer than I had anticipated for the helium regulator to arrive though.
Things I still need to do:
Find a helium supplier
Get a car power inverter
Make a car "tray table" for the laptop
Those are the final major steps. There is still some minor (but important) support equipment that I need to gather up and make sure it's ready to go for launch day. Things like borrow a tripod, put together a tool kit, clean the plastic tarps, etc.
I'm actually a little nervous about launch. It's been a lot of fun planning and building everything. Now that it's coming down to last minute details, and knowing exactly how many little things that can go wrong and screw the whole thing up makes me both excited and scared. But as long as all the prep work is finished there's no reason to delay. It needs to do what it was built for. Serenity is just begging to be set free.
Part 1: Take Me Out Into The Black
Part 2: GPS Tracking Beacon
Part 4: Launch - Breaking Atmo