As of May 16th 2018, 00:07 Swedish Time, AESOP-Lite is in the air, and Roger has officially become the first koala to experience space-like conditions (a claim that is unfortunately impossible to corroborate…).
To totally misquote Jane Austen, it is a truth scientifically acknowledged that the third time is indeed the charm. After two consecutive attempts at launch, cancelled due to uncooperative weather, our payload finally took off on its cosmic journey to Northern Canada through the stratosphere. Any attempt to describe the intense combination of dread and elation we felt as the ballon was released, the pin connecting the gondola to the crane pulled, might fall flat (a tragic event, had it happened to our balloon…)
The night was short, as we immediately started tracking its altitude and position, and monitor our instrument, bombarded by particle showers as we climbed through the troposphere. After 3 hours, we reached a float altitude of 138kft, without dropping any ballast.
So far so good, we are getting organized taking shifts and letting the weary get some much needed rest.
Currently, the payload is leaving the coast of Norway, and if we care to be more exact…
Payload position as of 13:14:06Z 05/16/18
Latitude: 68°43.38 N
Longitude: 15°26.00 E
Altitude: 135576 Feet
Heading: 12.85 Knots @ 262.00°
Categories: Esrange, Sweden