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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Richard Massey

Clark, P., Funk, M., Funk, B., Funk, T., Meadows, R.E., Brown, A.M., Li, L., Massey, R.J. & Netterfield, C.B. (2019). An open source toolkit for the tracking, termination and recovery of high altitude balloon flights and payloads. Journal of Instrumentation 14(04): P04003.

Author(s) from Durham


We present an open source toolkit of flight-proven electronic devices which can be used to track, terminate and recover high altitude balloon flights and payloads. Comprising a beacon, pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic cut-down devices plus associated software, the toolkit can be used to: (i) track the location of a flight via Iridium satellite communication; (ii) release lift and/or float balloons manually or at pre-defined altitudes; (iii) locate the payload after descent. The size and mass of the toolkit make it suitable for use on weather or sounding balloon flights. We describe the technology readiness level of the toolkit, based on over 20 successful flights to altitudes of typically
32,000 m.