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Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:33 pm

Pi in space!

Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:39 am

OK kinda.

More like near space. This is a project I am undertaking with my son, and possibly my daughter when she gets a little older, right now she is 3 and could care less about space.

This project started a few months ago when my son and I were looking at youtube and found a video of some one that sent a Lego space shuttle into space with the assistance of a weather balloon. He wanted to do the same thing and I also thought it would be a fun project to try. My thing is I dont want to just send a Lego creation and a camera, that has already been done.

Here comes the Pi in space! I want to send a craft into near space. I of course want to film the trip and see the curve of the earth and the black of space. Durring these missions I want to also monitor certain conditions of the craft such as barometric pressure (for altitude readings) and temp. I want to have this data logged via a timed stamp. Now this would need a computer of some type and a IO board as well. My research lead me to the Raspberry and gertboard. I believe these are 2 perfect platforms to create my project, learn about space with my son and have some fun.

I have myself on the waiting list for the next batch of boards, and when I get it the project will offically start.


Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:48 pm

Re: Pi in space!

Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:21 am

waiting list....
It is shorter than you think.....
Have fun.

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:33 pm

Re: Pi in space!

Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:47 am

The waiting list according to Element14 is about 2 weeks. I am looking forward to getting my Pi.

As for the project, I just found a blog about some one in the UK doing a very similar thing. I am hoping I have the same luck he has had.

Currently I am looking into the development of the thermo sensor. I am calculating I will need a sensor that can read down to -100. As for the baro sensor there are a couple of different choices I can use and I will experiment with 2 or 3 different ones to see what works best.

The Pi as we all know does not have a built in timer so in order to get the data I want I am going to have to write a timer program that will keep track of "mission time" while a clock and log here on earth with me will let me keep track of the local time that the mission occures on.

One other system I want to try to have the Pi control the recovery system. This is to lessen the radius of the recovery zone. My hopes is to use the data from either a GPS unit or a baro sensor to trigger a servo that would release the parachute at a defined altitude. The remains of the balloon and the tether will act as a droge to keep the pod in the correct orientation as well as provide a form of drag to pull the chute out. The fear of a system like this is that if it fails the whole thing hits the ground at a high rate of speed. This could damage not only the craft but what ever it hits.


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Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:07 am

Re: Pi in space!

Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:15 am

Your best bet is to go and read the wiki at Lots of useful info there about all aspects of flying weather balloons, including parachute deployment. Pretty much every flight has the parachute inline with the balloon. i.e. Balloon -----> Parachute ----> Payload. That way you aren't reliant on anything to deploy the parachute. Falling to earth without a parachute is a bad thing.

Also, join the #highaltitude IRC chat room and introduce yourself. Try not to ask too many questions that are answered in the wiki though :-).

You can use the GPS time to timestamp events. I wouldn't bother keeping time separately.

By all means add sensors, but initially work on getting the GPS data into the Pi and the radio transmissions out. Those are the essentials.


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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:05 pm

Re: Pi in space!

Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:21 pm

To add to what daveake was saying. Once you have a GPS in, and radio out working, if you can, I'd recommend a test flight. Or at the very least, get a friend to drive the pi unit accross your town/city, and see how far away you can pick up transmissions from.

Other than that, best of luck :D
dan3008 wrote:Pays your money, takes your choice

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:08 pm

Re: Pi in space!

Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:28 pm

Hi Massey,

are there any updates? Have you done it?

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