We took quite a few readings to try and account for any variations, and when we were done we ended up with a little more lift than we calculated, but not by much. We then proceeded to tie off the balloon. This is by far the most stressful part of the entire operation. Weather balloons have what amounts to a very long, thick neck where you inflate them from. Unlike, say, a party balloon, you don’t just knot the end and call it a day. Instead, you need to tie one end of the neck off to prevent the escape of the helium, then bend the neck back. Then, you tie that off. You’re left with a “U” shaped bend at the bottom of the balloon that you then attach your payload train to: the parachute, then the reflector, and ultimately the payload. Oh, and you have to do this while, you know, trying to wrangle a 7 foot diameter balloon.
Tagged “cloud” even though it was a bright and sunny day.