A picoballoon is a small electronic probe tied to an ordinary “party” balloon. If it is light enough, we can monitor it using licensed or ism radio bands for even dozens of hours. Some even managed to circle the whole World. Some even more than once!
“The competition will be held for the second time and we see it as a motivation for makers and radio amateurs. The first year of the competition was a test that turned out to be a success. Ten teams arrived at Brno from Czechia, Slovakia, Germany and Poland. Seven probes were broadcasting after the launch. Unfortunately, the weather was ruthless and the picoballoons entered a storm over Poland. In the end the longest flying and broadcasting probe – 7 hours, 51 minutes and 44 seconds – was the probe made by the German team or Thomas Krahn and Sven Steudte” Jiří Dušek, Brno Observatory and Planetarium director.
So? Will you go for it? Give it a thought. If you manage to craft your own probe come on the launch day and we will tie it to a micro foil balloon. The uplift of the balloon will be only 2 grams (0.019N) and it will rise to the altitude of 8-10 km where it will float until destroyed by weather or until the gas leaks out. That can happen in a few hours… or days…
- Register your team or yourself on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please provide this information
- Names of all members,
- If students, name of the school,
- E-mail and phone number of the team leader
- Registration deadline is Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at midnight.
- Launch date is March 2, 2020 at 10 AM.
- Competition is for individuals as well as for teams. Each competing team can construct and launch only one probe.
- Picoballoons will be launched one by one on March 2, 2020 at 10 AM from Brno Observatory and Planetarium. The date and time are subject to change in case of bad weather.
- All participation expenses are carried by the team. (probe construction, traveling, accommodation)
- Organisers will only provide Qualatex 36-inch balloons with gas that need to be used by the team. Proprietary balloons and filling gas will not be allowed to compete.
- Each probe will be tied to one balloon.
- The winners are determined by the total flight duration.
- The total flight duration is set at the time from the launch to the last message received from the probe. If a message is not received from the probe in 240 hours (10 days) the probe is pronounced lost.
- The used frequency and communication protocol are not set. Probe must use such communication that detection is possible from anywhere outside the launch area and it must follow radio communication laws of each country in the world.
- The weight of the probe with all accessories must fall below 20 grams. Probes will be weighted before the start on a precise scale. Probes over 20 grams will be disqualified and will not be allowed for launch.
- Obligatory information received from the probe must be at least the altitude. Means of obtaining it are not set.
- All information received from the probe must be provided to the organisers.
- The organiser is not to be held responsible for incorrect or incomplete information in connection with the competition. May it be caused by human or technical factor.
- Organiser warns that any intentional attempt to damage or disrupt the run of the competition can be qualified as a violation of the regulations, can lead to disqualification and can end in charges for the crated damage.
- The participation is voluntary. The winners will be announced after the competition ends. The awards must be confirmed by a written agreement with the winning team.
- In case of unclarity or conflict, the final decision is upon the Brno Observatory and Planetarium Director. Repeal is not possible.
What are the awards?
- Team with the longest flying picoballoon (or the longest and the last flying picoballoon) will be given an award of 1000 EUR. (or equivalent in CZK)
- Teams of the next four longest flying picoballoons will be given awards of 200 EUR each. (or equivalent in CZK)