While termed ‘pico’, the party balloons used can still be roughly a meter in diameter on the ground, with some latex balloons potentially expanding further at high altitudes due to the low atmospheric pressure. These balloons can be legally launched from almost anywhere in the world. In particular in the USA there is no FAA clearance required to launch them due to their payload being much less than the limit of 4 lbs (1.8kg).
There is speculation that at least one of the objects shot down over Canada, Yukon by a US Air Force jet may have been amateur radio pico balloon K9YO-15 which was launched from Illinois on October 10 2022. It was on it’s seventh circumnavigation of the globe after being aloft for 123 days.
The social mediaz’ are saying “RIP to Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade’s ~$80 ham radio transmitter balloon by a $143,000,000 USAF F-22 firing a $485,000 AIM-9X Sidewinder missile”
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Hobbyists or not, there’s a reason the FAA wants our drones registered for regular flight.
The same should probably go for these weather-type balloons, assuming this group is using a Raspberry Pi Pico.
I feel bad for the group. I hope their coding is backed up, and I know how much these SBCs are.
TwitchSTL, there is no Raspberry Pi Pico onboard. ‘Pico’ refers to the scale of the balloon. The transmissions are extremely low power and are licensed under the FCC within amateur radio.
Thanks for the clarification.
Regardless, I still feel bad for the group. I hope they get drop-shipped new supplies by the USAF. They deserve to record that in action.
I can see it now… the Spirit of Missouri dropping a supply crate, attached to a parachute for these guys and gals to record from their mobile phones and dropping gracefully from the B2; as an apologetic-delivery from the Oval Office.