The balloon is here!
This is a Kaymont HAB-1000 meteorological balloon. Kaymont doesn’t take orders over their website, so I had to call them, however, that gave me an opportunity to ask several questions I had about the balloon. Ryan there was extremely helpful in answering them:
- What size balloon would you recommend? The capsule and parachute together weight exactly 3 pounds. Based on their Near Space Photography page, it looked like the HAB-800 would be the smallest we would want to use. Ryan mentioned that they were having a sale on the HAB-1000. We could get it for the same price as the HAB-800, and have a better chance of making it to a higher altitude, so I opted for that.
- I had read from several other launches that you need to wear gloves while handling the balloon directly because the oils on your skin will deteriorate the balloon material. Is there a specific kind of gloves that we should wear (e.g., latex)? Ryan said latex would be fine, but any soft glove will work. The main thing is keeping the oils away from the balloon, and preventing it from rubbing anything sharp or jagged (the main reason we will be laying a tarp out before we roll the balloon out).
- Does the balloon come with any hardware to secure the lines to it? No, it’s just balloon itself. Ryan suggested tying the neck off where it meets the balloon with a piece of string, doubling the neck over on itself, and then duct-taping it down. He recommended against using zipties (at least one launch we studied said they used these) because the sharp ends could puncture the balloon.
All in all I was very pleased with Kaymont, and we’re all thrilled to see one of the last components of this project arrive.
The last major expenditure for this project will be the helium itself. One of my next tasks is to identify a supplier, and get that ball rolling.