The South Texas Balloon Launch Team launched its 28th balloon the Orient Express, from Katy, Texas, aiming its hopes on the balloon reaching China. Previous launches were aimed at reaching altitude, but on this launch the team is aiming to establish a world record for distance by attempting to fly an unmanned helium-filled balloon from Katy, Texas to Nanjing, China.
Team spokesman, A.C. Spraggins, W5EZM noted to the Katy Times that the balloon will carry a small package equipped with a high-altitude GPS tracking system and a VHF amateur radio transmitter. Starting at approximately five feet in diameter, Spraggins stated, “As it rises, the balloon will fill to capacity and will expand to about 39 feet in diameter. We don’t want it to get to 40 feet because the balloon will burst. The maximum altitude is expected to be above 100,000 feet with horizontal speeds between 100 and 150 miles per hour.”
The South Texas Balloon Team consists of about 25 Amateur Operators from a variety of occupations, who donate their time and resources to their projects. You may read the full story at http://katytimes.com/news/article_b2683a60-527e-11e1-bca4-001871e3ce6c.html or track the balloon’s progress at http://aprs.fi/?call=KT5TK-11&mt=roadmap&z=11&timerange=86400&_s=ss_call.