Project HALO Status Report

Sky Launch 1, Attempt 3 -- Success in Hampstead

Held on Sunday, May 11, 1997 in Hampstead, North Carolina

The following text was taken, with permission, from an article by Ben Frink, Balloon Team member, which was published in the May-June 1997 issue of the Southeastern Space Supporter, newsletter of HAL5.

Deja-vous Blues -- NOT!

I do want to say that I enjoyed the flight tremendously and appreciate HAL5 vindicating me in front of my home audience.  The most memorable moment for me was the wild emotional swing from panic to sweet success that took place at the time of the balloon panel blow out and the frantic attempt to ignite the rocket motor.

I think that Bill, Ed and I were the only folks in the tent when the panel blew out.  I froze in disbelief with all my past rockoon attempts flashing before me.  I was brought back into the present listening as Bill shouted for Ed to fire the rocket.  My heart sank when the first uplink didn’t fire.  It sank deeper with the second unsuccessful launch command.  Just when I felt I couldn’t take no more disappointment, selfishly thinking about how my detractors would relish reading about another failed attempt, the rocket roared to life.

My mind’s ear could hear the roar of the motor from over a hundred miles away at the edge of a rarefied atmosphere.  I sincerely thank all the HAL5 members for allowing me to participate and I hope that you will consider southeastern North Carolina for another try for space!  Ad Astra!

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