The StratoGulp project came about from the Canadian Condor project which started in 2003. The Condor is a H2O2 powered rocket designed to fly under Canada's High Power Rocketry requirements limiting it to 40960 N. and yet still be able to break the Canadian and North American Altitude records for an “O” powered rocket. One of the requirements was to be able to predict within 1/8 of a mile where the rocket would land. It was decided at that time to develop a steerable recovery system and the forerunner to the StratoGulp was born. After 9 versions of autopilots and 7 different types of recovery vehicles we now have a 6 DOF IMU autopilot capable of the task.
This is where the StratoGulp enters the picture. The Gulp is a foam slope soaring plank type of glider. Working with the designer of the gulp we have now a fully glassed powered version called the StratoGulp. Powered by 2 lipo batteries, one for the motor and one for the electronics the SG will be lofted to ever increasing heights and dropped, gliding back to it's original launch point and giving us info on what we need for the Canadian Condor. Secondary to this, certain institutions have become aware of our efforts and what to use a larger version for high altitude experiments.
The SG uses a 7.4v 4200mah motor battery and a 2500mah electronics battery. The motor is capable of running for over 40 minutes at 2/5 power extending the glide ratio from 1 to 8 to well over 1 to 20 giving the StratoGulp a huge range, or if need be to power through mid altitude winds in excess of 60 mph. The electronics battery powers the regular 72mhz RC receiver, the autopilot, and a 500mw 900mhz radio modem for two way communications between the SG and the base station.
Control is by one of three systems. Regular RC within about 3/4 of a mile simple altitude and direction control through the ground station or fully autonomous via a preprogrammed flight plan loaded into the autopilot. Any of the 3 systems can be switched on or off from either the ground station or the RC transmitter.
Low altitude tests should begin in late September or early October 2009 and the altitudes will increase with each successful flight. Mid and High altitude tests are expected to start late Febuary to early March 2010.