Lots of questions – we provide you with the answers!

Since a weather balloon is not launched into the stratosphere every day, most of you will have a lot of questions! We have already answered the most frequent questions on this page. Further answers as well as instructions can be found in our tutorial.

Is such a space flight even allowed?

Yes! Though, to send your camera into the stratosphere you’ll need a permit from the German air traffic control and the Federal Aviation Authority / district government. You can find the contact details of the German air traffic control. Before that, however, a permit from the Aviation Authority responsible for your country is required.
After receiving this permission, you can apply for the permit to launch at the German Air Traffic Control. You can find the addresses of the responsiblefederal offices.
In the first step, it’s best for you to use our Weather Balloon application, which guides you step by step through the registration process.

Can you launch the balloon for me?

You work for an agency or a company and need support with the flight? We would be happy to do it for you! Tell us about your idea and we’ll make it happen. More info at marketing.stratoflights.com.

Do I need an insurance?

In order to apply for the ascent permit, the air traffic control or the aviation authority in some countries also requires proof that insurance is available in case of emergency. The best way is, to get advice from an insurer regarding a so-called “aviation holder liability insurance”.

Why Stratoflights?

With hundreds of successful stratospheric flights for various advertising campaigns since 2011, we are one of the most experienced providers of stratospheric flights in Europe. Our equipment has been engineered & tested for reliability and is designed to be very cost-effective, so that almost anyone can launch a balloon into space. Furthermore, we have launched the MINT school project on the edge of space for schools, so that our stratosphere project can make science more tangible for schoolchildren. In addition, we offer a trained high-quality support!

What altitude does a weather balloon reach?

The maximum altitude depends on several factors. The decisive factor is the choice of the weather balloon. Thus, our weather balloon 800 reaches a height of up to 30km, whereas larger weather balloons, such as the weather balloon 3000, reach maximum altitudes of 40km. Basically, the less helium is used or the lighter the total weight, the higher the balloon rises. We have developed a calculator for the purpose of calculating your altitude.

How much Helium/ Baloon gas do I need?

As a rule of thumb, you need 1 liter of helium to keep 1 gram leveled. In addition, you need a buoyancy. For an exact calculation of the required amount of helium we recommend our helium calculator.

What sizes do the gas bottles come in? Which should I choose?

There are different sizes, e.g. 10, 20 and 50l bottles. The content is calculated with the following rule of thumb: A 20l bottle with 200bar contains 20 × 200 = 4000l helium. Since the quantity of a 20l helium bottle is usually just enough, we recommend buying two 20l bottles as a precaution. Then you are on the safe side. For an exact calculation we recommend our helium calculator.

At what time of year should you start your weather balloon into the stratosphere?

Basically, this project can be done at any time a year, since the conditions in the stratosphere are always extreme, no matter which season it is on Earth. We made the experience that the best shots are created in winter, because at this time of the year. The shots usually come out much clearer. Furthermore, the winter offers the advantage that the technology such as the cameras do not overheat in winter. Therefore the temperature poses a smaller challenge in winter. It is best to store the technology in the car / house / jacket pocket, install it directly into the probe and turn it on. Then even a cold winter cannot harm the cameras and other technology while installing in the insulating polystyrene probe. After installation, the styrofoam probe heats up by running the Space Cam “Apeman” anyway, so that even the extreme temperatures of the stratosphere of up to -65 ° C are no problem.

I live by the sea, will my stratosphere probe land in the water?

The Flight route prediction tool provides you with accurate information about your flight route just a few days before your planned start. The closer the start day comes, the more accurate the forecast is. As long as you keep the helium amount of the Helium calculator and update the ascent rate during the flight you , you can predict the flight route of your weather balloon to approximately 5km. Since the wind on the sea mostly comes from the open sea, you can easily register different start dates for your mission and start your mission with appropriate wind blows towards the inland.

How far does a weather balloon fly?

That depends on various factors. If it is windless on the ground, it does not mean that it is the same “up there”. In the heights where cruisers fly, there are extreme wind speeds, up to slightly above 100km/h.
Another factor is the amount of helium: If you fill more helium in the weather balloon, the balloon rises faster and will burst more likely. This can shorten the distance between the starting point and the landing place. Our balloons usually covered a distance of 50-150 km as the crow flies. Our flight route calculation allows you to calculate the exact flight route of your mission just a few days before the start. This will give you an accurate idea of the flight distance and the approximate landing location: Predicting the flight path.

How safe is a weather balloon mission?

In order to launch a weather balloon, you have to obtain permission from your aviation authority and, if you are launching within an air traffic control zone (i.e. near an airport), also from the Air Traffic Control. They will make a NOTAM which gives information to the air traffic that a weather balloon will rise on that specific day and time. In this way, air traffic is informed so that there is no risk.

The regulations differ in each country but here you can find some first information:

In addition, the weather balloon may only be launched under visual flight conditions, i.e. if the sky is not completely cover with clouds. This also prevents a collision with aircraft, because they can always see the ascending balloon in good weather conditions. The ascent is therefore completely safe.

But a number of safety precautions are also required during landing. The probe must be constructed in such a way that no damage to persons or property can occur during landing. In other words, no sharp or dangerous objects may be sent up. This is also checked when applying to the aviation authority. So with a simple probe weighing a few hundred grams and insulated with Styrofoam, the probability of damage is extremely low. However, if it does happen, the flight must be covered by an appropriate aviation liability insurance policy, which is offered by various insurers. Since the insurance costs are very very low, it can also be seen from the fact that even the insurers do not expect huge damages.

Once the weather balloon is flying, you can no longer control it. But you can also take further precautions for the landing to make it as safe as possible. For example, before launching the balloon, you can use our Flight Route Calculator and the Helium Calculator to adjust the landing region somewhat by combining and adjusting the variables. For example, if you find that the balloon is flying towards a large city, you could significantly reduce the climbrate and make the balloon fly beyond the city, for example, and land in a rural area. You can also check how the launchtime has an effect on the landing area. If the landing site still seems unfavourable, the flight day can also be postponed. In this way, you can significantly increase safety and only take off if the calculated landing region appears favourable.

By combining all these factors, it is possible to reduce the risk to a minimum. Nevertheless, it must be said, there is of course always a certain residual risk. But after enquiring with our insurer, we learned that no claims have ever been filed. So good luck and have a good flight!

Is a weather balloon harmful to the environment?

We want to make a weather balloon launch as sustainable as possible. That’s why our weather balloons are made of a natural rubber that is biodegradable. So there are no leftovers in nature. In addition, the weather balloon is filled with helium. This is a noble gas that does not react with other gases and therefore does not increase the greenhouse effect. The ascent of a weather balloon is, compared to rockets or aeroplanes, completely emission-free. As there is a GPS tracker on board the probe, which can be used to locate the it, the probe will be collected again so that no residue remains in nature and all the equipment can be collected again. In this way, we can ensure that weather balloon ascents can be carried out sustainably.

Where can I buy a weather balloon?

Fortunately, the search for the weather balloon has come to an end, because that’s why we set up an online shop! You will find everything concerning stratospheric flights there.

How can I locate my camera after landing?

A reliable GPS tracker must be on board your stratospheric probe. The GPS tracker is the “life insurance” for your stratospheric mission, and the reliability and quality of the GPS tracker will determine the success of your mission. The GPS tracker STRATOfinder transmits the position data of your probe’s landing site with an accuracy of 5m. So you know exactly where your stratospheric probe has landed and can be navigated directly to the landing site via the Stratoflights app.

How far do weather balloons fly?

That depends on various factors. If it is windless on the ground, it does not mean that “up there” the wind is the same. In the heights where cruisers fly, there are extreme wind speeds, which are sometimes slightly above 100km / h.
Another factor is the amount of helium: If you fill more helium in the weather balloon, the balloon rises faster and will burst more likely. This can shorten the distance between the starting point and the landing place. Our balloons usually cover a distance of 50-150 km as the crow flies.

What is the probability that the camera will land on a roof?

The probability of landing in an inhabited area is, very low in Germany at least in Germany. Here, only about 12% of the total area is built on with houses, streets and green spaces. With several hundred takeoffs and landings, it has only happened a few times so far that one of our probes has landed in a garden / on a roof. Otherwise, we always landed on fields or in the forest.
There is almost no need to be afraid of water if you do not start directly at the sea. You almost have to be “lucky” to land in a river or lake in Germany, as the water area in Germany is only 0.3%. A look at Google Earth shows how little land has actually been built on. Should the styrofoam probe land in the water, it’s no problem: Styrofoam floats.

How cold is it in the startosphere?

Temperatures can drop to as low as -60°C when travelling into the stratosphere. At these extreme temperatures, the camera and other equipment must be well insulated so that the batteries do not fail. However, a “styrofoam probe” is sufficient to protect the equipment from the cold. Only the battery life of the camera needs to be extended with a high-quality and reliable battery pack so that you can still see your landing. Normal batteries or battery packs from the supermarket are not suitable for these extreme temperatures and usually discharge before your weather balloon has reached its maximum flight altitude!

I’m a student and I need money for the project. Suggestions?

Involve your environment! Talk to friends, family, teachers, clubs, companies. If everyone contributes a few euros, you can afford one of our sets. Be creative in your advertising campaign and don’t be discouraged when the subsidies are low. The more enthusiastic you are about starting your own space program, the more your project will grow. Here are some simple ideas for your marketing campaign:

  • 1. let anyone who donates something write a message or place a logo that you shoot into space. Point the camera at the logos during the mission and put a video of it on YouTube.
  • 2. let anyone who donates something write a special design or message on a small piece of paper and stick it on a piece of balsa wood. Send it to the universe and give it back to your sponsors with a certificate “Been to the stratosphere!
  • 3. Contact your local newspapers and offer a topic suggestion about your project. If they agree, you have a great opportunity to give your sponsors the publicity they want.

I want to start such a projekt, where do I start?

Our Tutorial is a great place to start and learn all the fundamentals required.

Where can I get answeres, if I don’t find my question in the FAQ segment.

To learn more, have a look at our tutorial. If you still cannot find an answer to your question, use the contact form below. We will gladly help.

Further helpful tipps are available at our WEATHERBALLOON TUTORIAL