Pegasus HAB Project


  • 09/10/13 - Announced the UKHAS Arctic Challenge - going to organise it but also get involved.
  • 06/01/13 - Atlas 4 launched, floated overnight and landed in France.

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For more information about launching High Altitude Balloons in the UK visit the UKHAS wiki, join the UKHAS mailing list or go on to #highaltitude on



Gumstix based flights from 2005 - 2008, initially GSM only but then 434.650mhz, Pegasus VI downlinked SSTV images


GM862 GSM module based flight computers programmed in Python - had a number of problems with flights

High Altitude Photo System (HAPS)

Atlantic Halo

Trans-atlantic Project


Arctic Challenge



What is the Pegasus High Altitude Balloon Project?

The Pegasus High Altitude Balloon project is a UK based amateur student run project that involves launching payloads to “Near Space” (flying between an altitude of 60,000ft (20km) and 115,000ft (35km)). This is achieved through the use of helium weather balloons which are designed to burst at a certain height and then the payload returns to earth via parachute.

At present we have launched five Pegasus missions:

  • Pegasus I reaching 66,000ft and was successfully recovered,
  • Pegasus II which is at present missing (probably having landed in the North Sea.)
  • Pegasus III was a success.
  • Pegasus V flew twice, the first flight was a success, the second landed in the sea just off the Norfolk Coast.
  • Pegasus VI reached 31.4km and downlinked images via the radio using the SSTV protocol.

After the loss of Pegasus V the focus shifted to Firefly using Telit GM862-GPS modules.

  • FHALP-1, contact was lost after launch and is assumed to have landed in the North Sea
  • FHALP-2 even though contact was lost at apogee was returned by a member of the public.
  • FHALP-3 contact again was lost however on landing the flight computer restarted and the payload was recovered from a field in Norfolk.
  • HAPS-1, based upon the Gumstix Goliath was a picture taking mission, while there was some tracking difficulties the mission was a success with some amazing pictures and panoramics

Currently working on AtlanticHalo a trans-atlantic attempt, focusing on ballast tanks to maintain altitude over night so have launched the BallastHalo missions to test these flights with normal latex balloons.

  • BallastHalo 1 - failed to achieve float
  • BallastHalo 2 - floated for 7hrs 15mins, burst after sunrise, landed in tree - unrecoverable - proved float was possible with latex balloon.
  • BallastHalo 3 - floated for 2hrs, failed to test ballast tanks as secondary board crashed - recovered from N France.
  • BallastHalo 4 - ballast pump turned on, interfered with GPS, no float - recovered from the Netherlands.

Due to restrictions in the HAM licence in the UK the typical frequencies can not be used, instead we use GSM and also licence exempt frequencies mainly 434mhz at 10mW. The GSM doesn't work above about 3000ft however is extremely reliable once the payload has landed while the radio allows us to track the payload throughout the flight.

Image from the Pegasus III flight showing the moon.

For images from the memory card of the cameras (better quality) check out my flickr account.



  • Please get in touch if you have any jobs or projects that need doing regarding embedded linux (especially using Gumstixs), GPS modules, GSM modules (including the Telit GM862).
start.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/15 09:41 by jamescoxon
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