High Altitude Balloon & Photography Experiments by Sutton Grammar School

Exploring “Near Space” Since 2008

The Apex Project was started with the aim of using high altitude meteorological balloons to take photographs and collect sensor data from near-space. Details of each individual payload is given on their relevant pages. To date there have been four versions of Apex and six launches in total. Apex Alpha II is currently in development.

Project Apex III was the next generation high altitude balloon project by Sutton Grammar School which was modular in design. As well as the core electronics, the payload contained various other modules which measured radiation, humidity, pressure, light, gas and temperature. The payload also carried cameras and a HD camcorder. Apex III has been launched twice in total.
Apex Alpha is a small, light payload which will lead to the development of Apex III. The payload is based around the AVR micro-controllers with the Arduino bootloader. With a completely redesigned payload, we hope that Apex Alpha will be able to help us break records and move the project forward towards Apex III.  Apex Alpha was launched on 22nd October 2011.
Following in the footsteps of Apex I and its unfortunate loss, Version 2 of the high altitude weather balloon launched by Sutton Grammar School sets out to achieve the same objectives. With a completely redesigned payload and tracking system, we hope to make this version easier to track & find.

Project Apex II has been launched twice to this date with a third launch planned for the summer of 2011. It was first launched and recovered on 17/July/2010 and then again on 09/April/2011.

A high altitude weather balloon launched by Sutton Grammar School in 2008/09. Like the majority of interesting engineering projects, the original stimulus for this project was to see whether it could be done. Specifically in this case, that was to launch high altitude helium balloon at reasonable cost, with the primary aim of recovering the payload after the flight. As such, relatively expensive equipment could be used again for another flight. Specifications When the project first began, we had a number of things we wished it to achieve:

• The payload to be largely reusable
• To take lots of high altitude pictures at a reasonable resolution
• To be easy to operate, to aid a repeated launch by the younger years at the school
• To record environmental variables such as temperature and pressure at altitude

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