High Altitude Balloon Consulting
                     Daniel Bowen

                                    Specializing in small to medium weight long duration systems

Daniel Bowen
Commercial, scientific and amateur balloon project consulting

There's a lot of great ideas for using weather balloons out there.  When you're ready to move beyond the basics, don't waste time by trying to reinvent the wheel with your project.  It's my goal to educate you and help you design cutting edge balloon systems that benefit from all of the scientific and technical knowledge available.  I have spent years designing and flying long duration and long distance balloon flight systems, and have amassed a wide breadth of knowledge and documentation of the science and real world behavior of small balloon systems and the laws that govern them, both in the US and internationally.  

I can provide guidance to you on:

Detailed project feasibility assessment, mission design, balloon type selection, risk analysis, component selection, electronics designs, balloon manufacturing processes, balloon quality control, cold/vac systems testing, launch procedures, weight reduction, power optimization, telemetry systems design, antenna selection, payload thermal control, balloon thermal control, altitude control, ballast systems, cold-environment mechatronics, flight trajectory prediction software design, gossamer structure design, carbon fiber layups, and more.

I can connect your project with teams already experienced with balloon systems constraints, including:

Free idea review:

Balloon system ideas can appear deceptively simple, but their actual performance is often non-intuitive.  I'll give you some basic education on any core concepts that appear lacking in your plan, before you go too far on mistaken assumptions.  Non-disclosure agreements are available.

Why balloons?
  • Cold, Low Pressure Environment: similar to space,  -40C to -90C, ambient air pressure 300 kPa to 1 kPa
  • Very good Line-of-sight: for example at 125,000 ft (38km) simple line of sight distance is 500 miles
  • Stable platform: When at constant altitude a balloon has extremely low vibration and natural motions are extremely slow and slight
  • Clear air: above most of the atmosphere, there is little to no atmospheric distortion for astronomical observations
  • Microwave radio propagates farther: balloons are above the rf-absorbing moisture in the atmosphere
  • Long flight time: zero pressure balloons last for days in the air, superpressure balloons last for weeks to years
  • Cheaper: far cheaper to build a bunch of small balloons than buy/maintain aircraft or satellites.
  • No-hassle launching: Small payload balloons are exempt from filing pre-approval paperwork with the FAA in the US. (You must still follow all regulations, and should still file a HiBall NOTAM 24 hours before launch)
Open Balloon Science and Technology Publication

I am working with others in the scientific, commercial and amateur balloon communities to compile historic technical documentation and data on small long duration balloon systems.  These archives are rife with not-intuitive lessons learned by thousands of balloon flights in the past.  The knowledge is strikingly difficult to get to, and many of the lessons learned took years and many balloon flights to be realized.  I see people re-invent the wheel on balloons every month, due to ignorance of existing data and solutions.  This wastes the innovative talent in our field that could be used to move things forward.

We would like to bring that knowledge to a much wider scientific, and technical audience through Open Access publishing.  Where already available we will be presenting public domain information with better organization and commentary, and for existing research, writing new technical publications to explain research for which existing documentation is poorly accessible.