As much as I like rocketry and cansats, the amount of telemetry data collected is limited, typically 5-15 minutes, as is the altitude (5,000 to 30,000 feet). In contrast, the data collected from balloon launch typically spans 2-3 hours and reaches an altitude of 35,000 feet. And a more slightly expensive high altitude balloon (HAB) can reach 60,000 feet and travel several times around the globe on a trip lasting several months. If you are interested in launching your own balloon, watch this webcast from

You can learn almost as much from tracking weather balloons launched twice a day by the US and European weather services. Since July 2020, I’ve used Project Horus’s Radiosonde_auto_rx software running on a dedicated Raspberry Pi with a RTL-SDR to track weather balloons launched daily from the NOAA station in San Diego, CA, US and the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground (Yuma, AZ, US). Tracks are posted in real-time to APRS.FI and HabHub. Radiosondes typically transmit in the 400-403Mhz range. More information about weather balloons and radiosondes can be found at: &

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