With a long trek from the ocean into the snowy Russian mountains, team RandomRace takes first place in the "Longest Ground Track" category by recovering their payload (including brandy!) after a flight going 250km. RandomRace is an organization based in St Petersburg that uses HABs to bring people in their community together and get them excited about science and technology; they launch with students at schools and for GSBC 2014 flew from Palace Square with hundreds of onlookers. This year, team RandomRace assembled their payload with a homemade 433 Hz transmitter, their own pressure and temperature data loggers, and various different trackers to ensure they could track it down. They trekked to the black sea coast and released their balloon, capturing gorgeous pictures of the surrounding mountains and then spending two days traveling to the site of the landing, including several hours of backpacking, to recover their precious payload. Congratulations to team RandomRace on another successful flight and true adventure! For an entertaining story of the trip with some incredible photos from their trek, check out their website: http://www.randomrace.ru/2015/gsbc/eng/
Though these teams did not meet all of the rules for the Longest ground track, we also wanted to give honorable mention to two teams that flew insane distances aiming for the GSBC prize:
The Stanford Space Initiative team flew from near San Francisco, Califonia, USA up to southern Canada in a trip well over 1000 km - unfortunately it did not happen until May, but congratulations to SSI for their tremendous progress! Check out more about the team's journey on their website: http://stanfordssi.org/balloonsblog/70-the-international-launch-of-ssi-22
Team HABEX of South Africa flew 650 km on their flight through three countries until they lost their payload in the water. Congratulations on an incredible flight and better luck recovering next time!