Need help tracking UAV/ powered parachute

Hello i have read about a project that some students have done and i am trying to recreate it. I want to launch a weather balloon with a uav attached to it so that it will go to about 100000ft take some pic's then return home the only problem is i don't know the best way to track it. Can anyone help please???I just had an idea for recovery and was wondering if it is possible to make a powered parachute out of a 1.8 m Dual Line Stunt Parachute Parafoil Sport Kite? or any other ideas just thought it would kill 2 birds with one stone, slow down desent of craft and help fly back to launch site.
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  • Caleb, GPS is capable of working well beyond the altitude of the satellites. Your receiver and/or software may get confused about unusually high altitudes though. For example, if either is expecting a 16 bit unsigned integer value, anything above 65,535 could result in an overflow error. I'm not saying it will happen, it's just a consideration when going outside of the normal parameters. It sounds like something you'll just have to try, and find out what happens. I would expect that most should work.
  • Developer
    As a full scale general aviation pilot I can tell you that cell phones are very unreliable above 10,000 ft agl. I would not expect useable service at 100,000 feet.

    A pre-built solution, although probably way to slow/infrequent is the SPOT messenger. It is satellite phone base but only transmits once every 10 minutes in track mode.
  • T3
    A GPS can be connected to the Millswood Engineering failsafe, and telemetry sent to a ground tracking station. The same device can be used to activate the release mechanism for your uav from the baloon.
  • For recovery I am trying to make a powered parachute. The only problem is that i am not sure that this is posible. Does anyone know if a flexifoil power kite could be used as the parachute? thanks for the help everyone the links have been great.
  • We've tracked objects using APRS via HAM radios. Continued function of the GPS will depend on the GPS itself. the 65k limit may be a thing of the past, but chek woith your vendor. I've been tempted to do a glider drop but project-wise I find I have a tendency to bit off more than I can chew!


  • Moderator
    Well of course I could'nt say ;-)
  • Gary ,
    2`s & 71`s ;-)
  • Moderator
    Oh I forgot to say, one of these might be perfect.

    It might well stop sending position above 65,000' thats the end of civil airspace, and yes there is traffic above that!!

    Back in the day when I was based at SCATCC making tea and coffee we used to work two types of aircraft that turned there transponders off at FL65.
  • Look at how it has been done before;
    Also on the site a very cool weather prognosis based Balloon Trajectory Forecast with google earth output
  • Thats really cool. I was looking into making a glider after the first flight if i could get it to work. thank for the link really interesting. I know the terrain up here makes it a bit tricky but i like a challange and i'm gettin lots of good help here so all going well i might be able to get it to work
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