The Final Frontier


18 posts
by singapura » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:27 am
One RasPi of the five I want to order will probably have a short lifespan.

The plan is to connect the Pi to a humidity and temperature sensor, an altitude sensor, a GPS unit and one or two camera units, one with a fisheye lens and one with a zoom lens. The whole contraption will be cased in a styrofoam ball with holes for the cameras and sensors.

Destination: the edge of space by weatherballoon. The balloon can be bought here.

Total budget: USD250

Estimated launch time: Q4 2012

Issues to resolve:


  •  How to establish and maintain communication. Will a 3G modem with SIM card be sufficient or is it better to use a video/data transmitter? Maybe Wifi?

  • The sensors I want to obtain from yoctopuce Are there any cheaper/better sensors out there?

  • What would be the best way to control decent of the unit once it has reached the edge of space? Fill the ball with foam and just drop it or use a kind of parachute?

  • Any other cool stuff the Pi can do/measure/register while up there? Your name will be attached to the experiment and carried to the edge of space!

  • Since I don't have enough programming experience, anyone want to join to develop the software?I'm based in Singapore but that doesn't have to hold you back off course.


All ideas, tips and tricks are welcome!
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:25 am
by HB » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:54 am
singapura said:



  • What would be the best way to control decent of the unit once it has reached the edge of space? Fill the ball with foam and just drop it or use a kind of parachute?



The guy who sent an iPhone and a video camera up in a weather balloon used a parachute. The footage (and more info) can be found here: http://www.brooklynspaceprogra.....lloon.html

Good luck with the project - that's the kind of thing I love to see people do.
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:49 am
by jamesh » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:06 am
Lots of people have done this sort of thing - look up JP Aerospace for one. Also there is a Cambridge UK  team did one recently. None use real time transmit back to ground - wifi doesn't have the range. Might be able to get 3G working though, but even that is range limited. Satellite phone?
Moderator
Posts: 10501
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by Wooloomooloo » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:55 am
Satellite phone might work, but even if you don't really care for the cost of the phone (if you plan on retrieving it, a recording to a card would have sufficed), data charges generated by the live camera(s) - if the bandwidth would suffice at all - just might bankrupt you. Possibly for several future lives.
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:52 am
by mightygoose » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:30 am
Question: what is the typical altitude performance of these balloons?

i love the idea of the project, i might have to go buy one of those RC dirigibles and make a few modifications...
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:53 pm
by meltwater » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:44 am
Most comms will be directed at ground level, so sat-phone (although expensive) would be the only option unless you added your own hardware (which would be heavy etc), but chances are it'll be well out of range before it gets very far.

If retrieval is your concern, then you could take your chances that others will be able to find it and upload the content once found (if the GPS works till the end – and you can transmit that at minimum, I imagine geo-caching fans will locate it for you) – as long as it's not in the sea.

You could always play around with a tethered set-up (obviously you'll need to stay below the legal heights).  Would be interesting to see if 3G/wifi goes up that far or not.

Also, letting it fall wouldn't be a good plan even if protected for impact, since there might be someone (or something expensive) it lands on, and/or on to a busy road…
______________
http://www.themagpi.com/
A Magazine for Raspberry Pi Users
Read Online or Download for Free.

My new book: goo.gl/dmVtsc

Meltwater's Pi Hardware - pihardware.com

Like the MagPi? @TheMagP1 @TheMagPiTeam
User avatar
Posts: 981
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:38 am
by jamesh » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:05 pm
Yes, don't just let it drop - bad claims may come your way.

These things can reach over 100kft I believe, so you will also need to take care with heating the device, or at least insulating the device.

Much more information  here...

http://www.jpaerospace.com/
Moderator
Posts: 10501
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by rfverbruggen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:26 pm
I do really like the idea.

Maybe it will be a good idea to share the data in a forum kind of thing. So people can see results of this kind of project all over the world.

Thinking of doing the same from The Netherlands somewhere this year, or spring 2013.
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:00 am
by Greywolf8404 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:48 pm
Really is a cool idea. If I was to do it I would play with the shape of the container that it is housed in to get tighter camera shots. Like the iphone one looked like a loaf of bread I would have more of a missile look to it with a nose cone camera and rear camera with cameras to both sides and stablizing fins for the decent. Some flashing LEDs for safety.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:15 pm
by eroomde » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:53 pm
JamesH said:


Lots of people have done this sort of thing – look up JP Aerospace for one. Also there is a Cambridge UK  team did one recently. None use real time transmit back to ground – wifi doesn"t have the range. Might be able to get 3G working though, but even that is range limited. Satellite phone?


Completely not true I"m afraid! Happily most of the ones launched in the UK have real time transmissions to the ground using small FM radio modules and amateur radio protocols. There have been over 80 high altitude balloon launches out of Churchill College in Cambridge since 2006. People with receivers can track them and upload the telemetry in real time, which then gets plotted on a map online. More info in the UKHAS link below.

Using the raspberry pi, just have it feed radio teletype (lots of linux ham radio software can produce it) out of the audio jack and into a radio. Check the legality of flying radios in your country. There are restrictions on frequency and power in the UK, for example.

The UK High Altitude Society (UKHAS) has lots of info on how to do it, more importantly how to do it to maximise the chance of it being successful and safe.

The Cambridge group is Cambridge University Spaceflight (CUSF) and they host a number of launches for their stuff and for others who want to come and use the launch site which has all the necessary aviation authority clearances and permissions.

It"s good fun, and an excellent way to get a ~1kg experimental payload to >120,000ft. You"d have to be a lottery winner to do that with rockets. Rasp pi is 1000 times more that you need computationally to log some sensors and take photos, with a power consumption that reflects that, so do your sums on batteries carefully – remember their performance is rarely as good at the low temps of high altitude. But, with all that computational power to play with, just think what awesome things you could do!

Ed

(one-time president of CUSF)
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:41 pm
by MINKIN2 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:57 pm
I have always loved the idea if doing this sort of thing and this forum also has topics that could be incorporated in to getting the Pi to the edges of space.

We have the Gert board for powering motors, there are discussions for solar panels, giro-scope and low power consumption threads...

So how much thrust to payload would be needed to completely break the Earth's gravitational pull once it has been pulled up to the edge of space by the balloon?

I know it sounds daft, and it is. Blame it on me listening to a Sputnik related radio show and getting inspired :)
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:39 pm
by S0litaire » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:31 pm
make sure you stick a foam rubber "Raspberry-Pi" logo in view of the camera.
Something like this:

lol
--
Laters

Bill "Solitaire" C

Anáil nathrach, ortha bhas betha, do cheol déanta
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:24 pm
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
by jamesh » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:55 pm
eroomde said:


JamesH said:


Lots of people have done this sort of thing – look up JP Aerospace for one. Also there is a Cambridge UK  team did one recently. None use real time transmit back to ground – wifi doesn"t have the range. Might be able to get 3G working though, but even that is range limited. Satellite phone?


Completely not true I"m afraid! Happily most of the ones launched in the UK have real time transmissions to the ground using small FM radio modules and amateur radio protocols. There have been over 80 high altitude balloon launches out of Churchill College in Cambridge since 2006. People with receivers can track them and upload the telemetry in real time, which then gets plotted on a map online. More info in the UKHAS link below.

Ed

(one-time president of CUSF)


But not video I assume, which is what I think I was talking about (it was a while ago, so may just have been talking bollocks). If you did get video working, how did you do it?
Moderator
Posts: 10501
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by jpowell » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:13 pm
We run live video on most of our flights. As long as the vehicle is with in 50 miles of the mission control point we get pretty close to HD quality.The trick is to spend the weight for a decent antenna on board (3 lbs, 14 db).

John

JP Aerospace

http://www.jpaerospace.com
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:02 pm
by wf8sjake » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:03 pm
You might consider Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) to send & receive data to your experiment as we have used a software package called APRS for many years to receive GPS telemetry from EOSS balloons and have not "lost" a balloon in over 10 years.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:20 pm
by paulie » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:42 pm
Am looking to build an APRS tracker when I get my Pi.
As mentioned previously, UK Amateur licence regulations do not permit operation in any airborne craft (which covers aircraft, hot air balloons, high altitude projects,gliders etc.etc.)
There has been only one one-off airborne station to my knowledge, and don"t think there are plans to change this.
There are licence-free radio modules that might do the job.
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:51 pm
by Gigaparsec » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:54 pm
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:42 pm
by balloonnews » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:43 am
There is some information on current weather balloon projects using Raspberry Pi on www.balloonnews.wordpress.com Look at the projects by Dave Ackerman and Project Black Sky. - Chris
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:40 am