Update #25 – Potential Launch Attempt #1 – T-15 hours

The weather is shaping up nicely for a launch tomorrow morning. Surface winds are currently howling at 24 knots gusting 32 knots. Overnight though, we should see the speeds drop back into the 8-12kts range. I’m including all the screenshots so you can see what I’m seeing. All of these will be refined 12 hours and 6 hours before we go.

Using forecast models looking 18 hours forward, I like what I see for winds between 10k and 50k feet. For two weeks we’ve been seeing speeds from 80kts to 120kts. For whatever reason, that jetstream that was dipping down over us has abated and/or shifted east. From the ground up to 50k feet, everything is 40-80kts.

The final downrange distance (if the modeling software is correct) will be 65-70 miles vs 90-120 that we’ve seen over the last two weeks. We modeled the launch location from about 8 different locations to avoid population centers, active airways, military installations, and major bodies of water, all while taking advantage of a major west-to-east state highway.

Using google maps, we drew a 1-2 mile circle around the area and looked for wide open, public use areas that would offer us plenty of space to spread out for balloon inflation and horizontal distances to clear the payload train. There is a city park and baseball fields about :30 seconds off the highway that looks great. It’s only :25 minutes from my front door so we scouted the location this afternoon.

Long story, short… I’m packing the car and running everything with batteries through the chargers. There are a few more calls to make but I’m about 70% we’re going to try for a launch tomorrow. I’ll update again a few hours before but I’m moving over to Remind101 for SMS updates: https://www.remind.com/join/starduster

Potential landing zone
Potential landing zone

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