Apex III’s second launch took place on Sunday 11th March 2012 from Churchill College, Cambridge. After the loss of Apex III Launch 1, a second payload was quickly put together for this launch.
The payload consisted of the Core board as well as a camera running CHDK and a keychain camera taking video footage. This resulted in a much smaller and lighter payload which enabled us to use a smaller 800g balloon.
We arrived at the launch site at 09:00 GMT and began preparations for the launch. Apex III’s second launch was to be carried out simultaneously to Cambridge University Spaceflight’s (CUSF) Wombat launch.
The payload was weighed beforehand and we used CUSF’s mass flow meter (aptly named Skunk) to accurately fill the balloon with the right volume of helium.
Filling was completed and at 12:00 both teams headed out into the field to launch the payloads. Apex began its ascent at 12:12 at the calculated ascent rate.
Straight after the launch we began tracking and hit the road heading towards the predicted landing site. We reached Harlow and stopped there to track the rest of the flight.
The balloon continued ascending until 14:01 when it burst at an altitude of 32, 014m. We ran a further prediction and then headed off to the landing site.
Apex III landed at 14:37 and we arrived in the minibus shortly afterwards at 14:45. The payload landed just East of the M11 off Hastinwood Road at 51.752168, 0.165696.
The parachute made finding the payload very easy and upon initial inspection the payload (apart from the antenna) had suffered little to no damage during the landing.
We would like to thank Cambridge University Spaceflight for the use of their launch facilities at Churchill College, Cambridge.