ARPS Flight of Volatus-1

Notice: The launch was a botch, and as a result no significant altitude was achieved. The last recorded location from the payload was on ranch land, amid mesas. We may attempt to hike onto that land tomorrow to search for the payload. None the less, this mission has failed, but with some interesting lessons learnt. I’ll update this website with a full write up when I get back from the west.

If you’ve received an APRS packet with this domain name in it, we need your help! Please read below the tracking map.


KF5WYX-11 (codename: Volatus-1) is a high altitude balloon payload, which is unmanned, and will be flying from Marfa, TX and is expected to pass close to Fort Stockton.

The flight is expected to last for three hours, and carries a digital camera which is taking photographs every few seconds to record the flight.

Our only means of tracking this flight is via APRS, which we are receiving at a mobile station (KF5WYX). While in the air, the payload will transmit a position report every five minutes, and that rate will increase to once per minute when the payload descends below 3000 meters (9800 feet) which is within 15 minutes of touching down.

The radio transmitter on board the payload has a very low power output, which means that in the last minutes of the flight, we could very easily lose it’s signal. If you have received an APRS position report from the payload below 10,000 feet, please consider emailing it to us at or sending an SMS to (US +1) nine seven two, eight zero nine, six zero one seven.

Should you discover the payload, I would very much like to have it back. There isn’t anything of significant value inside, however, the SD card inside the camera contains images which are the purpose of this privately funded experiment. Unless we recover the payload, and therefore the SD card, this flight will be a total loss.

The flight will begin between 9am and 10am CDT on Saturday 25th of April. Data may take up to 30 minutes to appear on the tracking site depending upon network conditions.

Thank You.

(We’ll likely be monitoring the texas saltgrass network during the flight. )

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