A critical part of planning our first balloon launch was predicting where the winds would take us, particularly at high-altitude. Fast-moving currents of air, called the Jet Stream could potentially have taken us hundreds of kilometres away from our launch site.
We developed computer models based off US wind data, to help us predict our likely location, but our weather data was limited to around 40,000 feet. Above that, we were at the mercy of the wind.
The pictures below show the actual flight path the balloon took. We were extremely fortunate that the balloon only travelled 46km on the ground.
Map showing ground-track of the balloon. Each red dot represents a data packet received over the amateur radio APRS network, indicating position and altitude. Launch was from the north, near Taupiri.
3D rendering showing the flight-path of the balloon, and key milestones.