Introduction to Weather Balloons -

Introduction to Weather Balloons

A convenient way to gather atmospheric data at high altitudes is to use weather balloons (current record altitude for unmanned gas filled balloon seems to be 53 km of BU60-1 Japanese balloon). As this kind of devices is used for weather forecast and research the specific literature on the topic is widely available [1] and consolidated. Air data systems are a common payload across that kind of probe, from here our interest on the topic. Here we introduce the basic hardware, provide a basic calculation script for balloon sizing and describe the ground filling operations. The topics involved are different and heterogeneous so we will split topics along a mini-series of articles on balloons.



We will focus on the most common DIY setup, a sealed balloon filled with helium and with a rope suspended payload. Helium is lighter than air so it makes the balloon float.

High altitude balloon payload system configuration. When balloon bursts or is released, the parachute inflates and the system descends (inset).

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