The launch of UBSEDS3 is planned for noon on 26th October 2014 (UKHAS Launch Announcment). The pico tracker will be built into a paper plane and launched inside a High Altitude Balloon by the MARSBalloon team. When the balloon bursts, the paper plane will hopefully glide back down to earth.

Keep up to date with the launch on the on the MARSBalloon Mission Page and Twitter Feed!

A test paper plane

A prototype of the paper plane developed by Oly Cotton.

The Pico Tracker

We’ve made several improvements since the last launch:

  • GPS module is upgraded from a uBlox 6 to a uBlox 8 chipset, and now uses the standard MAX-M8C with an external wire antenna.
  • The radio is fitted with a Temperature Controlled Oscillator (TCXO) for much better frequency stability.
  • The MCU enters sleep mode when inactive to save power.
  • The internal temperature of the radio is reported.

The pico tracker before launch

The tracker and its battery happily makes it in under 15 grams.

PCB with spray lacquer

The PCB has been sprayed with laqcuer for protection against damp on the way back down through the troposphere.




  • Total distance traveled: 157.6km
  • Great circle distance: 103.7km
  • Maximum altitude: 31.3km
  • Countries passed through: gb


Thank you to all listeners who tracked this flight!

Callsign Telemetry Lines Received Longest Path
0x17 gb 250 189.4km
G0WXI gb 229 201.6km
G8DHE gb 224 151.9km
M0UPU gb 127 277.1km
G1DYQ gb 117 129.2km
G8FJG_1 gb 108 176.7km
M0ZBU gb 100 133.4km
M0UPU-2 gb 82 275.7km
PE1ANS 75 414.1km
G6GZH gb 50 229.2km
M0SBU 23
G3ZGZ 17 294.2km
G4AIU gb 13 96.9km
F5APQ fr 12 234.6km
EDU0001 gb 12 143.3km
G0TDJ gb 10 162.7km
M1ARI gb 4 92.1km
G6SUQ gb 2 122.3km