SpaceChute is an ultra-low cost, re-usable platform for sending a payload to near-space altitudes (greater than 100,000 feet MSL) and returning the payload to a predetermined location. Using a steerable ram-air parachute, an on-board computer guides the payload to a predetermined location, avoiding ground hazards.
A helium-filled weather balloon lifts the payload to near-space altitudes (approximately 100,000 feet MSL). An on-board computer determines when to release the payload from the balloon.
Once released, a drogue chute is deployed to stabilize the fall, minimize time-aloft, and get the payload through the higher winds-aloft layer as quickly as possible.
At 30,000 to 40,000 feet MSL, the main chute is deployed. The on-board computer selects one of several predetermined landing sites which are reachable based on its present location and environmental data. Predicted winds have been pre-loaded before the flight, and actual winds-aloft have been recorded on the way up. On-board simulations of the descent are run to determine which targets are reachable.
The ram parachute is then guided toward the target location. If reached, the chute loiters over the target until it lands.
Flight data is ecorded and stored in a removable thumb drive in the computer for further analysis.
An on-board satellite-connected personal locating device (GPS) is used so the ground crew can locate and retrieve the payload.
If you woild like a copy of the SpaceChute design, download SpaceChute Chute Design v3.pdf (4776873).