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.


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!)


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