Archive for the ‘Black Sky Project “High Altitude Prototype Craft”’ Category




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:

From being a young boy I have also had an interest in space. Though getting up there was an obvious problem. I remember going to the headmaster of the primary school I went to at Sherwood School in Browns Bay, Auckland, New Zealand and telling him that a neighbourhood friend and I were trying to make a spacecraft. It was funny we collected all these different old electronic parts and devices though never eventuated to anything of real substance. I recall playing with bottle sky rockets and sometimes doing some very dangerous things. I also launched an water rocket across the street. The neighbours I think were worried about me.

Now I am a paranormal investigator, semi pro photographer and graphic artist. I will be producing a documentary on a prototype weather balloon craft that I have designed and been working on since March of 2010. I hope to break the 145,590.60 ft record.

Now there is something very different about this high altitude balloon project that sets it above all the rest. Traditional only in the sense that latex balloons are being used. What makes this so different is that multiple giant balloons will be used to help with ascending higher. The more room for expansion of the balloon the more altitude it will gain. The latex eventually ruptures due to expansion stress. I am a scuba diver with going under the ocean gases compress the deeper you descend and the more air one needs to stay longer. With ascending into the heavens its the opposite with air pressure. There is another aspect which no one has attempted with this set-up in history (ahem I say no more at this point.)  The shape of the payload/s will be much more aerodynamic. No flying boxes. It has proved to be a lot more expensive than I anticipated because of the materials I am using and the sky breaking idea I have. It is named “Black Sky Project.” Now I am hoping this craft will go where no ground launched balloon has gone before. Included in the design is a solar sail. A scientist would tell me I am crazy because solar winds occur where balloons don’t go though I have an ace up my sleeve. This will be similar to NASA’s Echo 1 project in scope. I am seriously considering taking this idea to Kickstarter as it is turning out to be a mammoth endeavor. If this project does what I think it could do it will be a historical event.

I  recently attained my amateur radio license to track this craft.

Original Old Black Sky Project Intro Video

Hydrogen Balloon Test

Indiegogo Promotional Video

<p><a href=”″>Black Sky Project Introduction</a> from <a href=””>Marc Coppell</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>