Predicting the Balloon Path

The path of the balloon can be predicted using the University of Wyoming at Laramie's balloon trajectory model (http://weather.uwyo.edu/polar/balloon_traj.html).  You can enter the lat. / long. of the launch site and the burst altitude.  Based on the winds at that time of day, it will generate a file to be viewed in Google Earth (http://www.google.com/earth) showing the predicted path of the balloon.

 

For example, with Lat. = 46.95, Long = -120.1 and a burst altitude of 32,000 meters, it produced the following file.  If you have Google Earth installed, clicking on the following file will show you the path of the balloon. As you can see, this path went too far south and too close the nuclear power plant!

balloon.kml (4,5 kB)

 

Avoiding Trees

Unless you enjoy climbing trees to retreive your space photos, here is a handy website that shows the tree coverage across the US.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Aboveground_Woody_Biomass_in_the_United_States_2011.jpg)

Our first launch site will be central Washington.  I'm considering the second site to be in central South Dakota!

 

Avoiding Planes

You can use this link to overlay Aeronautical Charts in Google Earth to view the controlled airspace to be avoided.

http://www.wikihow.com/Overlay-Sectional-Aeronautical-Charts-in-Google-Earth

 

Winds

Here's a great site that will show all winds across the US instantaneously.  You can zoom in on any location.  Great graphics!

hint.fm/wind/