The day before you head to your chosen launch site, fully charge your flight computer and confirm the flight path predictions are favourable. Test both apps and make surey ou have all the equipment.
For the launch day, you will need:
Your Astropod kit and contents
A pair of scissors
A smartphone to track your Astropod and run predictions
(Optional) a notebook, laptop or tablet to run predictions on a larger screen
A helpful assistant or two
The launch site
On the day, when you arrive at the site, begin by preparing the flight train. Take your two lengths of cord. Tie the end of one cord to the top of the parachute and the end of the other cord to the bottom of the parachute.
Now you’re ready to fill up the balloon. Attach the hose on the cylinder and put on the gloves. Remove the balloon from its packaging, unfurl the neck of the balloon and insert the end of the hose up to the top of the neck. Use a cable tie to secure the balloon to the hose, grip it tightly and open the cylinder.
When the first cylinder runs out, hold the neck of the balloon closed above the hose to prevent gas escaping and switch the hose to the next cylinder. Repeat with all three cylinders, holding the neck of the balloon closed in between to prevent the gas escaping.
Once all three cylinders are emptied into the balloon, carefully remove the hose from the neck, keeping a firm grip on the balloon at all times. Tighten the cable tie and trim the excess down. Take the cord tied to the top of the parachute and tie the other end to the neck of the balloon.
Fold the neck of the balloon up over the knot and secure in place with a second cable tie. This prevents the cord slipping out of place. Now hold on tight!
Turn on your flight computer, send a text to confirm that tracking services are working, then open HVR and set it recording.
Put the flight computer into the Astropod and seal it up with the rubber bands. Move the rings to the top of the Astropod. Take the cord tied to the bottom of the parachute and loop it through the rings. Tie it around to form a loop. Run a final prediction (just to make sure).
Now you’re ready to release the Astropod!
Travel to the predicted landing site and start monitoring the position of your Astropod. Because the Astropod’s tracking system relies on connection to the 4G network, it will not update while your Astropod is in flight. This is entirely normal.
Start texting location requests to your Astropod after it has been in the air for ninety minutes. Don’t text it more than once every fifteen minutes - this may compromise the accuracy of location updates.
Once you get the same location twice, your Astropod has landed. You can use Google Maps to navigate directly to the landing site, or program the coordinates into a satnav or other navigation device.
Travel to the landing site and retrieve your Astropod. All that’s left to do is get home and review your amazing footage from the edge of space!