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Recovery

Nobody knew where the payload was!

Hours of searching, three mobiles looking, and nothing! One of the recovery teams found a tower to climb... Nothing! And the signal of the beacon disappeared where the payload hit the ground.

That night a fairly heavy storm made further search impossible.

And during the next few days, flights were made by an ultra-light aircraft, stil nothing. Days and days of looking, and no results at all.

And then - 5 months later - a phone call of one of the landowners, indicating that he had found the payload.

Apparently, he found the payload the same day, probably just minutes after it fell, and took it inside where he saved it from the oncoming storm. That's why the signal disappeared! He did not have telephone at his home, tried to call from the village, and didn't get any answer (every one was looking!).

Only months later, he recalled he had the payload, and tried again, this time with more luck.

With extreme case, we dismounted everything, and developped the film of the camera:

(Clicking on each image will take you to a larger version of the image. each image is about 30 to 50 kB)

The label that permitted the phone call

La carga completa, en bastante buen estado.
The camera side: the load seems to have fallen on this side. The force of the hit made us suspect that the parachute wire broke (this was confirmed with the telemetry data, showing a large increase in speed from 8000 meters - 24000 ft)!

The foam did its job very well: it was only broken at this weak spot
Same spot. Lecture: don't make 90 degree cuts!

Yet another view of the weak spot. The camera opening is also visible, painted black to avoid reflections.
Temperatue and humidity sensors, still in one piece.

The weight of the batteries, combined with the downfall, compressed the foam internally. Thanks to the density of the material, no short circuits or broken electronics.
Same. In the upper parte, the camera trigger circuit is visible, with the large electrolytic, and the relay.


(c) John Coppens ON6JC/LW3HAZ mail