Hello all;

My name is Tyrell, I was at an intro meeting a few months back... But then
my work schedule changed, and I haven't been able to get out since.  I did
spend a few months taking the Intro to Python course on Coursera, though,
so I haven't been COMPLETELY idle...  Hopefully when my schedule cleans up
a bit, I'll actually be able to help with something!

But at the meeting I did attend, it was suggested that my backgrounds in
GIS and Ham Radio might make me useful to the recovery team...  I am very
interested in that, and would like some pointers in what has worked in the
past, and what ideas people had for improving it.

Just as a method of getting discussion off the ground:
It's fairly trivial to map the entire flight in 4 dimensions using all
sorts of GIS type software products, and a script can be written to model
the remainder of the flight after the last report using data from the last
known trajectory, and possibly also data from recent National Weather
Service sounding balloons (Although I suspect doing so is overkill). All I
would need are the timestamped position reports, and trajectory vector data
if it's available from the rocket (Of course I can calculate the trajectory
based on any given two points, but I imagine that the rocket's instruments
may have a better idea about what's going on than just the current

At any rate, I would guess that such methods would narrow the search down
to a few hundred yards, potentially close enough to be able to "Hear" the
position beacon again (This, of course, assumes that the rocket is still
transmitting, even at a less frequent rate, which I understand it does NOT
currently do).

There's also the Automatic Position Reporting Service, http://aprs.org/,
which uses amateur radio to report a station's location (And potentially
other data).  APRS is common in high altitude balloons, but the hardware is
redundant and unnecessary in this application.  It COULD, however, be used
to track the recovery team member's current locations, and if they are
geographicly dispersed, they could report over the radio the bearing of the
rocket at the last moment they saw it, and we could triangulate based on
that bearing and their APRS reported position...  I doubt this will be as
accurate than the GIS models, but I'm a HUGE fan of redundancy against
hardware failure ;)

Additionally, because APRS "iGates" report heard APRS stations to
http://aprs.fi, the recovery can be tracked and reported to the internet
automatically, and analyzed after the fact to improve future recoveries.

These are thoughts I had based on virtually no experience or knowledge of
this project...  I just wanted to introduce myself to the group, and
identify my goals, so discussion and planning can happen well in advance of
any upcoming flights ;)  I may be completely off base, and if I am, please
feel free to correct me!  More than anything, I'm just interested in
learning and participating within the realm of my limited physics and
engineering knowledge ;)

Thank you,
Tyrell Jentink, KD7KUJ
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