MADHEN EGGSPLORER-1 High Altitude Balloon


For mission background please visit this page.


Andrew Garratt and South Kesteven ARS sent an egg into 'space' - well in to the Stratosphere at least onboard a high altitude balloon reaching a maximum altitude of 31km, nearly 20 miles or over 100,000 feet!

The MADHEN Eggsplorer-1 with it's egg then returned to Earth, splashing down in the North Sea and was assumed lost but we hoped it might wash up on a beach


Six weeks after launch we had given up hope then a miracle happened, the Eggsplorer-1 was found on a remote beach on the island of Terschelling in the Netherlands by Jan Wouter Kramer. Amazingly the space capsule had done its work and the egg was intact! However after six weeks it was extremely fragile and smelly and broke when they attempted to remove it.

The Dutch police got involved and retrieved the remains and have sent back the valuable memory card from the onboard computer and we got some images back, sadly not from the stratosphere due to failure of the onboard computer, but still got some nice images of it in the clouds approximately 2.5km up.

The full story of the find are detailed on Andrew's blog

and the retrieval of the images from the memory card is detailed here

the full collection of images can be seen on the South Kesteven Amateur Radio Society website or the clubs Facebook page.

Madhen Eggsplorer-1 flight path

The flight path can be seen above.

Unfortunately like all pioneering space missions we suffered a technical hitch and the on board camera system failed shortly after take off so pictures weren't received back at mission control. As you can see the system was working before launch as the spacecraft lay in it's prelaunch position.

madhen before launch

before launch image

A representative of MADHEN - The Ultimate Party Band  the flight principal sponsor was on hand to inspect the craft

This was the partial image received after launch as it sailed into the sky, suspended beneath the parachute.


madhen at launch

Despite the failure of the camera, the backup system sent telemetry data showing the altitude, position and temperature and pressure during the flight, which was tracked by numerous radio receivers and shown on the UKHAS tracking website.

The launch took place at the start of the show as there were some issues with getting CAA approval because the sky was very busy on the day including the last remaining Vulcan Bomber VH-558 making its farewell flight in the area, cue jokes about the Vulcan getting scrambled... but approval was given for a morning flight, not ideal for the organisers but we were still a spectacle for the handful who were there early.

Andrew Garratt (M0NRD) starting the balloon fill

Checking the lift using a bottle of 'heavy' water

Stewart Mason (M0SDM) securing payload to balloon

A strong gusty wind was blowing at launch time

Andrew and Stewart running to assist the launch

Video of the launch

In addition to MADHEN Eggsplorer-1 with what remained of the Helium we also launched a foil party balloon later in the day carrying a lightweight pico-tracker donated by Steve Smith (G0TDJ) of ProjectAVR

After a worryingly slow ascent at launch, the plucky EGGDX climbed into the jet stream at approximately 6km up and was flying toward Denmark at approximately 120km/h till it hit bad weather and was downed into the sea after a 400km journey, you can the flight path compared to MADHEN Eggsplorer-1

It was a eggscellent day, and plans are already underway for Eggsplorer-2 next year...

You can follow developments on twitter @eggsplorer1

South Kesteven ARS welcomes anybody with an interest in radio communications, so if want to be involved in this and other events like this please visit the South Kestevan ARS website and on twitter @M0SKR and the clubs Facebook page