The spring of 2012 was dedicated to the design and build of a high altitude project that would be more simple and reliable than Horizon or Explorer. The project, called Horizon SkyView, implemented both major and minor changes to optimize high altitude flight, tracking, and image capture.
The craft is designed to travel to 50,000 ft. and record its ascent and descent, featuring two high-definition cameras pointed in different directions. Updated web and ground tracking systems, custom antennas, and updated communication protocols improve reliability over the Horizon and Explorer projects and increase ease of retrieval. Also new is its full unibody structure, making Horizon SkyView the team’s strongest craft to date, and YUAA-designed release circuit board.
The launch of Skyview was set for 10:30 AM EST on October 24 at Hubbard Park, Meriden, CT. The team arrived early at the site, but last-minute complications delayed launch for over an hour. Finally, all systems were cleared, and at 11:45 AM, SkyView left the ground. Within minutes the craft broke cloud cover, disappearing from sight. The car chase began, and some team members stayed behind to track the craft from the ground.
Nearly all components functioned as expected, and the team had almost constant communication with SkyView throughout its journey. Sadly, unexpected southerly winds blew SkyView off its projected ENE course and landed it just off Fisher’s Island in the Long Island sound. The craft could not be retrieved from this location.
Update 10/28/12: The launch of SkyView marks a pause in YUAA’s exploration of high-altitude flight. For the 2012-2013 school year the team will be focusing on its newer projects: low-altitude gliders and rocketry. Stay tuned for more updates on these projects!