Weather Balloon Checklist

posted in: Cool Science, Learn | 0

This is the list of materials and procedures I used for my weather balloon. Keep in mind that this is not a definitive guide and I am by no means an expert.




  1. Cooler itself
  2. Lid (with session mount, Tesla, and spaceman)
  3. APRS tracker
  4. Spot tracker
  5. Raspberry Pi
  6. Hero 5 (facing out)
  7. Hero 3+ (facing down)
  8. Duct tape
  9. Hand Warmers
  10. Batteries for APRS and Spot
  11. Skewers to hold materials

Other Supplies on Balloon

  1. Weather Balloon
  2. PVC to insert in the bottom
  3. Zip Ties
  4. Electrical Tape to Cover Zip Ties
  5. Parachute
  6. Carabiners (2, 1 for the balloon to parachute, one for the parachute to payload)
  7. Paracord

Launch + Recovery Supplies

  1. Helium tank
  2. Helium tank filling device
  3. Wrench to turn on the helium tank
  4. Tarp
  5. Gloves (for everyone touching the balloon)
  6. 1 Gallon water jug with mass equivalent to neck lift
  7. Cutters (for zip ties)
  8. Cooler with Mountain Dew, Water, and Snacks
  9. Camera Equipment
  10. Tripod
  11. Fishing line to hold payload (maybe)
  12. Computer (with sd card adapters)
  13. Phones with GoPro, and Spot and APRS Tracker app
  14. Grappling hook for trees




Week before launch

  • Test all equipment
  • Order Helium
  • Run through procedures with whole group

Day Before Launch

  • Check weather predictions (record flight time and predicted landing)
  • Charge all batteries (all three go pros, and raspberry pi)
  • Pack up all materials
  • Contact FAA

Launch Procedures

  • Call FAA
  • Arrive at launch site
  • Unpack all materials
  • Ready Payload
    • Position all cameras and instrument with zip ties and skewers
    • Turn on Trackers
    • Add hand warmers, but don’t activate
    • Attach parachute to payload

Fill Balloon

  • Set up tarp
  • Put Gloves on
  • Open balloon
  • Insert PVC pipe into balloon neck
  • Zip tie two ends of Para cord around the PVC (sandwiching the balloon)
  • Cut and tape sharp ends
  • Attach the Para cord to water jug with carabiner
  • Attach filling device to helium tank
  • SLOWLY fill the balloon until it can lift the water a little bit
  • Seal end of balloon with zip ties
  • Cut and tap sharp ends


  • Turn on all cameras and equipment, make sure its running
    • Gopros- Make sure flashing red light
    • Spot- Check app for tracking info
    • Aprs- Check website for data
  • Attach balloon to payload
  • Optional – tie fishing line to payload and cut to release
  • Release payload


  • Drive to town near landing and find a place to chill
  • Monitor Position
  • Once landing is confirmed, drive to position
  • Ask landowners for permission
  • Recover Payload
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