Author Archive for Geoff

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Helpful Tips Part 3

Programming: You have to create lots of small programs to collect data from the sensors and send some of the data back to the ground and save all the data to the onboard memory cards. To do this you want to get a text editor like vi and learn how to use it. You may want to get a form of Linux called Ubuntu which is a free operating system that helps you to do everything you may want to do. One important thing that you should know about Ubuntu is if you get it on a PC it will overwrite your operating system instead of the operating system you had before like XP, Vista, or Windows 7. The newer Macs can have more than one operating system so if you have a Mac you can have Ubuntu and your other operating system. It is a great thing to understand programing or learn some programing. One more thing that you should familiarize your self with is to know how you should program it you should give it both automatic controls and Manuel controls during the launch. By controls I mean robotics and parachutes that kind of thing. Those are the basics of how to create a weather balloon payload project.

Helpful Tips Part 2

Payload: One of the hardest things in the project is the design and building of the payload its self. You must look at the FAA’s regulations on this sort of thing to keep it as safe as possible. Right now you do not need an FAA permit to send the balloon of but it is a good idea to contact them and tell them of your intentions before doing so. You should also make sure that it is easy to see so that any pilots operating in the area can see the object thus preventing accidents that may occur, we will wrap the payload in radar-reflecting aluminum foil. The weather conditions should be good when you launch so that you can be sure that everything is running smoothly. You will also need to research the jet stream because once you have launched it you do not have any control over what happens even attaching a small RC plane motor will not work because it will get out of range very soon and will become dead weight that could even throw off the entire project if it is not shut down in time. Another reason why it is good to know about the jet stream is because if it stays up in the sky too long it could end up going anywhere from a few miles away to many miles away from your planned landing spot. Up next is one of the most important parts of the project and that is knowing what is happening to the package it is important to know the altitude and other things that the package is experiencing. To do this you must have live feed. This means that it has a computer on board that all of the components report data to and then the computer broadcasts the info back to us on a laptop computer that we have on the ground. We are also planning on having it text us information via SMS! You also must create a program for it to run on. This is not an easy thing to do and you may want to get help with it.

Helpful Tips part 1

In the following posts I will give you helpful advice in building your own High Altitude Payload Project as well as tips on launch, safety, and laws.

Programming: Here are some helpful tips on the building and programing of a high altitude payload project. One of the huge things is that buying supplies does not have to be expensive. You can make it cost thousands of dollars or you can make it a low cost project. One great way to make it low cost is to get help from other people. We already have a sponsor early on in the project who donated a computer that we will be placed inside the payload its self as well as a second sponsor who donated my testing laptop that we will use to track the balloon in the air. The other thing is buy used items if possible and use resources that you already have. The items you need depend on the height you plan to send it to. In any case no matter how you do it you will need a weather balloon. If you plan to send it to the edge of the atmosphere you probably want to make sure that it is ozone resistant. If you want to recover it once it has landed you should put a computer on board that has an altimeter, a GPS, and any other things you may want on board connected like a camera. If you plan to send it up high, your payload should also be pressurized.