T+12 hours. Bad News.

Payload missing.  12 hours since launch.  All set to go at 8:50 at Quincy, Washington when the SPOT II satellite beacon wouldn’t update it’s position on the website.  I cracked open the payload to find it claimed to have sent the message already – 30 minute delay on the SPOT website.  With that, I finished buttoning it up, and we released at 9:05.

Two more data points at 9:17 and 9:28, then no more.  At this point at 5 m/s ascent rate it would be above 20,000 feet – known limit of the SPOT from LENSEv1 last summer.  We hurriedly drove to Toppenish, Washington to the south, predicted landing zone.  About 10:50 was the predicted burst time – we stopped for lunch and I set up the helical and started sweeping the general direction of the payload for a 900mhz signal – no dice.

At 11:30 the payload should be under 20,000 feet – no SPOT updates.  we waited until 1:00 for any updates, nothing.  No luck with scanning the horizon with the 900mhz radio either.

At this point, the payload is likely within 5-10 miles of Toppenish, Washington.  The SPOT stops transmitting tracking data after 24 hours, assuming it is still working.  My optimistic theory is that there is an issue with the SPOT website (thus the lag of GPS point updates).  Phone lines aren’t open until Monday.

In the mean time I’m sending emails to radio stations to try and get the word out.  My number is written on the box and parachute – 425-829-4151 PLEASE call if you find a small pink box and red parachute with camera lens sticking out!

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