PicoHAB: Third Attempt at Circumnavigation

Kido 2 – My third attempt at circumnavigating the globe


After the success of Tabi and the failure of my second attempt Kido, I spent a few days preparing a new payload for another shot at flying around the world. This would also give me an opportunity to test my newly developed launch checklist. I decided to retain the name and call this payload Kido 2.

It turned out that this payload would be the heaviest floater payload that had flown to date. However, that was not going to dissuade me. (I may have used a little extra glue to ensure there were no accidents on launch, so as to avoid a repeat of my previous launch.)

Kido 2 – My heaviest pico payload

I decided to change the firmware this time and get it to transmit more frequently. I thought that this might help when coming to track it as it floats around the world. This approach would stop me sitting and listening to remote webSDRs for long periods of time waiting for a signal to appear between transmissions.

The pale white dot

The checklist helped, which meant the launch went ahead without a hitch. I could see the telemetry updates coming in on my mobile phone as she floated off in the sky above my house. Prior to this flight I had developed my own mapping system FlightDeck. I decided to test it during this flight and fine tune it.

FlightDeck – My own mapping system

Changing the firmware meant that I was able to receive twice as much telemetry info, which made it really easy to track. My tracking map also seemed to perform well updating regularly. Everything was going very well until it reached Japan when night came in and I lost contact.

Somewhere about here!

The next day (in Japan) I was able to receive a partial telemetry update that indicated it was on its way north towards the Bering Sea. My friend Jim, who was helping track the balloon, emailed me a chart showing cloud cover and also that the balloon was heading towards an active volcano!

An active volcano!

This was, unfortunately, the end of the flight as I was unable to get a fix on her after the partial telemetry update due to the lack of webSDRs in that area of the world. Since the altitude remained consistent and did not tail off like my previous flight Tabi, there is no telling what happened to her. Most likely she splashed down in the Bering Sea or Baufort Sea, or even the Arctic Ocean.

That said however, if anyone asks, I prefer to tell them she was blasted out of the sky by an active volcano! 😀

Kido 2 flight path travelling approximately 12,500km

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