Archive for July, 2014




Documentary to film Black Sky Project-first prototype near-space balloon solar rocket
aims for history books. 

The multi-tiered balloon launch will take place in a remote desert location away from populated areas, airports, and restricted zones.

What would happen if you let a giant balloon rocket go on the edge of space? How far would it go in a near vacuum with little to no friction? 
The stratosphere is a deadly, inhospitable environment to most life-forms and here we find the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful solar, ultraviolet radiation; the sky changes from blue into black.

The un-manned balloon craft made of several large latex weather balloons will ascend at around 1,000 feet per minute (the rate of a normal weather balloon) to an approximate altitude of 115,000 feet through the use of lifting gas and darkened, passive, solar heated material. The tens of thousands of cubic feet of expanding (non-polluting) gas will be released through two pvc rocket nozzles (very lightweight and there is no heat transfer).  Small and lightweight reflective particles will be ejected at the time the thrusters go on-line and could be seen by those on the ground looking in Black Sky’s direction. Initial speed will be close to the speed of sound.

The elementary rocket engine design will function very efficiently at high altitude. This will be affected by the remaining positive buoyancy of the craft. The lightweight rocket will be tens of thousands of feet above commercial airspace. This prototype combined lighter-than-air/solar/gas rocket is the first of its kind and could very well enter the history books.

Black Sky Project won’t attain a high velocity such as with traditional rockets and will not maintain a low earth orbit (If it reaches that far.) It is designed to ascend vertically and fall back with Earth’s gravity back to Earth via parachute once all gas is expelled. It will not re-enter the earth’s atmosphere fast enough to require special heat shielding. The direction of the nose will be aimed skyward and controlled by an anchor pendulum system. The circular, lightweight payloads are designed to be aerodynamic and equipped with drop stabilizer fins to curtail vigorous spinning (this frequently occurs with near-space balloon payloads) on re-entry into the atmosphere. The exterior shells of the payloads will be coated with Aerogel recently developed by NASA. It is the lightest and lowest-density solid known to exist and holds various records known also for its high-insulating qualities.

For safety the un-manned craft will carry a regulation radar reflector and strobe and follow FAA FAR101 regulations. Also a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) will be filed as a precaution alerting all planes in the region. This is not a rockoon (rocket launched from balloon) and much safer. 

The goal of Black Sky Project is to test a prototype propulsion system to discover if it is possible to use such a craft for high-altitude experiments, observations, and possibly break some altitude records in the process. It has an optional cut-down timer if the balloon drifts for a time and does not enter into the thruster phase. It has a radio beacon among other electronic tracking, sensing, and reporting devices.
It will potentially create a new category of un-manned, near-space craft. It will adhere to FAA’s FAR101 regulations and will be using an Eagle Flight Computer. Its chief designer is a former ISS (International Space Station) flight controller. 

BU-60 Japanese polyethylene film balloon holds the highest record of 173,900 ft.

 Bello Mondo Amateur radio high altitude balloon holds the record of 145,590.60 ft.

Come and support the project at: