Assembling your mission is not difficult at all. All you have to do is get some paracord and tie together the balloon, chute and payload like its shown above. Without the balloon, it should look something like this
The payload box can contain all the goodies that you can think of. Typically a payload may contain
- A Flight Computer
- A Radio device to communicate with the ground
- GPS device to triangulate the balloon’s position
- Camera…..because pictures from the stratosphere are super cool
- Scientific payloads, Thermometers, pressure sensors, radiation sensors, Langmuir probes etc
For my flight, I used a cheap BLU Advance 5.0 Android smartphone. If you’re a programmer like me, you can write your own mission software. Most smartphones contain GPS devices, can communicate using cellular networks and can interface to several sensors using the audio port. The advantage of this method is that you can roll a lot of the hardware into a single device. Some programming Kung-fu may be required here obviously. Also it will only work if you know there is adequate cellular receptions in a 100Km radius of your launch site.
A lot of people in the US use ARPS networks to track their payloads. ARPS uses a nationwide network of ham radio repeaters to relay packets across. Unfortunately India does not have a similar network that you can use easily. So for now I guess only the hack-a-smartphone method may be the most practical way to do this.