First Pi in space

Recently you may have seen some of the awesome things that Dave Akerman has been doing with Raspberry Pi and Balloons. For the eclipse he was able to capture this image from his high altitude payload.

Dave who’s been doing high altitude flights for some time has racked up some pretty impressive bragging rights including the first Raspberry Pi (B, A and A+) in near space.

As many of you will also be aware we will be sending a pair of Raspberry Pi B+ to the International Space station later this year as part of our Astro Pi competition.

We felt a little sorry for the Pi B 2, as it’s never even been close to space! Having recently joined the education team, and with a little experience in launching a near space flight with my school, I wanted to do something about this. So for the last few weeks I’ve been working on launching a Pi 2 with a helium balloon and a Pi In The Sky (PITS) board. Here you can see the PITS+ board stacked on my Pi 2 ready for launch.

IMAG0380

This morning around 6:00am we launched our payload and sent it soaring to near space! However something quite remarkable happened….

The first part of the flight went well, the payload ascended rapidly and sent back some early flight images.

However, we then we lost contact with the payload at around 10,000m…

About 15 minutes later we re-established contact and were shocked to find it was at 37,000m above ground level! This is a much faster rate of ascent than we’d expected, roughly 6x quicker!

In fact it didn’t stop there, and appears to be rising still, the last piece of telemetry data we received put the payload at around 113,000m (that’s technically outer space!)

scene00146

We don’t know how but the payload appears to have reached escape velocity and is continuing to ascend. We’ve received a couple of images from the flight and are hoping they keep coming!

Wow! This is the first Pi in Spaaaacceeee……

UPDATE: I’ve taken the received images and stitched them together to make this video

Update: Yes, this was an April Fools joke

66 comments

Avatar

Hahahha. Nice one.

Avatar

Embarrassed to say I was with you for quite some time on this one! Happy April fools.

Avatar

Me too.

Now, if you’d tied a long ball of twine to it you could have made the first space elevator ;)

Avatar

Hi James,

That is truly an amazing achievement. I suspect that the solution to the mystery of how your balloon achieved escape velocity, is the sudden change in the value of the gravitational constant that only becomes apparent when the sidereal time and even more importantly the date are factored-in. Early research was carried out by Voyager, which also supplied pictures almost as remarkable as yours!

I presume that the payload will be destroyed on re-entry, but don’t feel too bad, I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first pie(e) to have been burned!

Congratulations :-)

Avatar

For this comment, you, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.

Avatar

LOL. Love it.

Avatar

Whole new franchise opportunity opens up- ‘Pis in Space’.

Avatar

6x speed improvement, in line with what we’d expect from the Pi 2 B.
Very good :)

Avatar

It concerns me that I recognised that this was an April fool because I recognised the pic as footage from Voyager opening credits.

It concerns me greatly.

Avatar

No, you must be mistaken. This is the Voyager opening scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRW8mv3GnDA

Avatar

Excellent work! I’ve tuned in to the signal and this is the latest image I managed to grab … http://www.daveakerman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013-04-13-21-23-27-PIE5-E1.jpeg

Avatar

How did you add the data loss? Tried to do that to my pics

Avatar

That was from an actual flight! It was a “floater” programmed to send some fixed images after dark. By then it was well across the continent with few listeners, hence the missing packets.

Avatar

Cool!

Avatar

One of the images transmitted after dark was a Windows blue screen. I got asked (by someone who I hope isn’t reading this) how I managed to transmit an image from a crashed computer …

Avatar

Space lizard overlords confirmed.

Avatar

If you’d used the new Model C I’m sure you’d still be getting data now!

Avatar

Wonders will never cease =oD Depi-ing the laws of science…

Avatar

I can see my house from there!

Avatar

Have we reached Mars yet? Maybe you can jumpstart Beagle 2!

Avatar

> In fact it didn’t stop there, and appears to be rising still, the last piece of telemetry data we received put the payload at around 113,000m

Another April fools?

Avatar

I actually want the model C :)

It would be nice to scale up to something like that with the same architecture

Avatar

you had me up until I hit the comments! I saw interstellar yesterday so I was ready to believe anything… you should have had a wormhole in there! :-)

Avatar

Where’s the spaghetti?

:-)

Well done, better than a lot I’ve seen today!

Avatar

Not as clever as http://com.google (try it)

Avatar

!revelc yrev seY

Avatar

Clever, but I must say those pictures are Next Generation not Voyager but that’s ok happy april fools I guess.

Avatar

The Voyager in the URL was a reference to…
http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/

Not Star Trek :-)

Avatar

Well done guys, you had me for a moment then until I seen the couple of images.

Avatar

The escape velocity can be attributed to the interaction of the localized tachyon stream combining with the interdimensional dark matter.
Or is it grey matter?
The grey matter interacting with the Gregorian linear time flow resulting in the numeric resultant of 1.4.2013.

Avatar

Please check your calculations. According to mine, it’s 1.4.2015, so you’re 2 out.

Avatar

Haha. I thought there might be an April fools day blog post so as soon as I saw ” First Pi in Space” I was suspicious. Nice one.

Avatar

THIS would actually and genuinely be mega-cool if it were for real. To be able to send a Raspberry Pi​ up on a weather balloon with a camera mounted and get photos back from it.

Avatar

Everything is possible except for the Outer space bit…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey7FsbDXqsM

Avatar

That’s a real-life application which a LOT of people are already doing with the Pi; there are lots of examples on this website. Check out http://www.raspberrypi.org/tag/hab/.

Avatar

I thought I recognised those pictures from last summer.

Avatar

Sssshhhhhh!

Avatar

Ohh so that is where it is from. I knew I recognized it.

Avatar

Good job. You had me fooled until I opened the video.
Excellent prank

Avatar

I prefer last year’s website redesign.
http://www.raspberrypi.org/first-pi-in-space/?fool
Six times quicker, you must be using a Pi2B not a PiB+ :-)

Avatar

We actually had some long discussions about what to do this year, and decided against anything as comprehensive as last year’s (which was one of my favourite things *ever*); a lot of people got REALLY VERY UPSET about it (read the comments), and we didn’t want that to happen again.

Avatar

People got upset!?!?!?
Most of the comments were random ASCII art (if I remember correctly).

Avatar

We had to remove a few REALLY angry (and sweary) comments – and my inbox on the day was…unpleasant. (Although there were lots and lots of lovely comments too, of course!)

Avatar

Can you drive the RPi to land on the moon ?

That would be great !

Avatar

According to the video, it’s already gone well past the moon!!

Avatar

‘These are the voyages of the star-chip enter-pi-s’

Avatar

Awesome!

Avatar

hahahahah Nicely Done !!!
Although a Pi powered Starship Enterprise would be cool!!

Avatar

Wow, you beat me! Exactly two years ago at the same date I sent a linuxstamp in the sky, but it never made it to space : http://www.haproxy.org/hap-in-the-sky.html

Great!
Willy

Avatar

OK, I fell for it. And as my excitement gave way to sadness I realized John Oliver is right: April Fool’s day is the worst. holiday. ever.

Avatar

this would have worked better if you mentioned something about a thruster!

Avatar

I’ve heard that if a pi lies for several minutes directly below the balloon before take off It creates the nocchio effect. .. perhaps this has something to do with pi-nocchio?

Avatar

The nocchio effect makes the nose cones of rockets get longer the further away they get from earth… That’s a fact.

Avatar

I know exactly how escape velocity was reached.
You’ve discovered Cavorite!

Avatar

wow i actually fell for it… i really believed in it..

Avatar

Excellent one folks! You had me until the video…
Keep up the great work!

Cheers!

Avatar

Maybe it got some additional velocity when momentarily snagged by a passing blue box with a flashing light on top!

Avatar

Wouldn’t be the first time…
http://www.daveakerman.com/?p=873

Avatar

I should do that one again – it had a 3G dongle and streamed its own recovery, which was neat.

Avatar

Huh, I was not aware the Enterprise D ran on Linux, i guess LCARS is its successor? You learn something new everyday i guess.

Avatar

Now THAT is incredible!

Avatar

Wow, that’s amazing! Please write more about this project.

Avatar

Excellent post! I was looking at this on the 5th and so didn’t realise until I looked at the date posted and the vid that I realised this was an April Fool. Brilliant idea if this really had happened!

Avatar

do you have to have permission to send it into space?
and can you buy a Pi in the Sky?

Avatar

Please could someone provide me with the URL of the video suggested in ‘update’?

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed