History: Project Skyhook

In the beginning

One of the things that prompted the creation of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group was the thought of flying high altitude balloons carrying amateur radio payloads. The original project never made it past the planning stages, mostly thwarted by regulation and insurance issues of the day, but none the less it was the catalyst for the creation of the group.

Fast forward 16 years to 2010. Project Horus was born thanks to the vision and drive of Terry Baume VK5VZI. Very quickly some of the members of the original Project Skyhook team became involved and eventually, the project became a sub-group of AREG.

The following is a nod to the original history behind AREG and what was planned all those years ago!

What is Project SKYHOOK?

Project SKYHOOK is a series of free flight high altitude balloon launches carrying electronic communication and other experimental payloads. It is anticipated initial smaller experiments will lead to the future launching of a large upper atmospheric balloon carrying a substantial payload comprising of a number of advanced experimental packages


The aim is to develop experimental communications, meteorological and other basic research packages capable of operating in the upper atmosphere and through the medium of amateur radio, report the relevant data ta ground control stations.

The objective is through a series of smaller experiments, to develop and launch a substantial payload consisting of a number of combined experimental packages. This payload is to be carried to the edge of space under a large upper atmospheric balloon. The approximate altitude expected to be attained is in the vicinity of 33 kms. or 100,000 feet.

The time frame to achieve the final objective is expected to be between two to three years.

Possible long term objective

If sufficient interest and support is available for Project SKYHOOK, it may be possible to extend the project on to the development, construction and the launching of a small amateur micro-satellite.

Who is involved?

The initial phases of the project will involve a small group of radio amateurs, but as the project develops, it is expected that larger groups will become involved. It is anticipated that Amateur Radio Clubs, High Schools, a University and other interested organisations will be invited to participate through the development of their own experiments which will become part of balloon payloads.


Initial costs will be met by the individuals involved, but as the project develops and progresses, donations and sponsorship will be solicited.

By Ben VK5ABE 1994