Pictures from JP Aerospace's May 5, 2001 Dark Sky Station flight

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On May 5, 2001, JP Aerospace conducted a test of the new Dark Sky Station platform. It's called a "station" because it's a prototype for a platform which can carry different kinds of stratospheric (high altitude) research. Once the station is operational, it will begin as a rocket launch platform for an amateur space launch attempt.

Since this was the first flight of the design, we abbreviated the flight "DSS1". I participated in one of the 4x4 recovery teams which tracked, found and recovered the station 75 miles from the launch site.

Date Activities Photos
Friday, May 4, 2001 Set up camp, rescue Tim and Matt, DSS setup 12
Saturday, May 5, 2001 launch and recovery of Dark Sky Station 22
Sunday, May 6, 2001 clean up 2
JP Aerospace's DSS1 pictures
DSS1 in Popular Mechanics' Dec 2001 issue

The following is a map of the flight path of DSS1. The recovery teams were updated by Ham Radio with the in-flight positions of the station. But once the order was given to the station's computers to cut itself down from the balloons, the recovery teams still had a wide area to search. And they had to maintain radio contact with the Base Camp to avoid having a rescue team sent after them. See the map below for the challenge they faced in finding it.

[map of flight 27K]

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Copyright (c) 2001 Ian Kluft