Just noticed I hadn't posted vids from our July launch, Ascent - Descent
Planning our second launch on Saturday provided weather permits. Using a 1200g balloon this time around, going for around 110000 feet.
We were able to launch this weekend and the launch was successful, video feed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTS0wF6ZU34
Postponing the launch, this weekend is not looking to be a very good launch weekend, weather-wise.
We're on the final countdown to balloon launch. As of today the winds look a little high for Saturday but we will continue to watch. On the testing front, we need to test tracking which we plan for tomorrow night, I need to finish the balloon harness and add the parachute attachment for the balloon.
I haven't made a status update in a while so now seems like a good time. This summer we made a couple custom antennas, one mag mount and one dipole. SWR was fairly low on both, 1.1 - 1.2.
We tested distance by transmitting from top of Harney Peak (which is the highest point between the Pyrenees and the Rockies). We were getting good distance, 50 miles but changing frequencies proved it was with the help of a repeater.
Serial port is working in the carputer now, I have a few updates I want to make to the tracking software and then I will probably post that version in the downloads section.
Looking to do some more antenna testing this weekend, hopefully find out what is going on with the j-pole antenna
Couple things went on this past week.
1. I created an application using C#/Mappoint to track the balloon's location with reference to the tracking vehicle. It seems to work well, a few things I don't like about the mappoint object such as the lack of transparent handling, but I'll live...
2. We tested the jpole antenna for the first time. It went horrible! Connectivity seemed to be fine but transmissions behaved as if the antenna wasn't connected at all, so further testing is necessary.
3. I got our balloons, so... check!
Installed the kenwood in my pickup, also looking at using MapPoint as a backend for tracking software
I ordered some Kaymont 800g balloons today. Tentative launch date of 7/23.
Transmitting at full power I am picking up the aprs transmissions across town through hills.
We tried using dry ice in a cooler to simulate cold weather. There are two things wrong with this scenario. Dry ice is much colder than the air temperature at 30km-40km altitude, and the air pressure at that altitude is so low as to act as an insulator. I receive transmissions for about 30 minutes before I lose track of it, and some time after that it begins a resetting cycle of trying to transmit after being reset and resetting in the middle of that initial transmission
While we are developing our flight board we are going to be taking a commercial route to get some flights in this summer. I've received a byonics microtrak 8000 transmitter and garmin 18x LVC GPS.
First steps with this will be to connect everything and power it up to verify it all works, and then get some power readings, do some range testing and do some cold weather testing also.
I have setup a 2m antenna to listen for local APRS announcements, which can be followed at http://www.nsab.us/aprs
NSAB has a twitter account! Follow us at http://twitter.com/nsab_us
Things kind of slowed down, nice weather will do this...nnSchematics for REHAB2 are pretty much done, I have all the parts from digikey, going to import them into the parts libraries and then Eric and I will need to do some placement and routing!
We are in the process of moving REHAB2 to altium designer, hopefully by next weekend (5/15/10) it will be ready for final review.
REHAB2 is under the drawing board. Currently we've moved to a single board model containing mostly critical components.
REHAB1 launched yesterday. The launch was riddled with excitement and problems. The balloon reached an altitude of 18km before the transmitter gave out. The reason for the dropout is still unknown, but we'll have to investigate that as we move into REHAB2.n nHere is a link to the kml file and the google map of our receptions.
Launch date was pushed for more testing.
We have tested the parachute, descent is swift but not deadly :)
Tentative date is now 10/31 (yeah, Halloween). Tentative launch point is in bridger, SD (middle of nowhere) and tentative impact point is philip, SD (slightly less middle of nowhere).
Speaking with the FAA and Kaymont, our balloon/payload is exempt from unmanned balloon regulations, so we should be good to go.
I ordered a 36" parachute and a 500g balloon today. Tentative launch date is Saturday 10/24.nnStill lots to do yet, so long as the weather is good and the balloon and parachute arrive in time, we should be good for launch.
I have acquired 2 batteries for use in the REHAB1 project. One will be used with the GPS circuit, the other with the control circuit.n nI tested the nichrome cutdown device last night, 4 inches of nichrome wire lit up like a lightbulb and cut through my test insulation like butter.nnNext plan is to organize the layout for the container.
REHAB1 circuit integration is complete and power testing has been completed on everything except for the cutdown device. About ready to get some batteries!
Today we performed tracking testing using the Lassen GPS module and MicroTrak 8000FA transmitter onboard the 'balloon' vehicle, and the chase vehicle carried the Kenwood receiver as well as a Microsoft USB GPS module to get local positioning.n nThe Lassen appeared to work perfectly after locking on to enough satellites. The microsoft module wasn't as accurate however.n nWe are looking into other options for local positioning, but I am pleased with the results of today's testing.
We are still developing REHAB1.n nStay tuned for more information on progress and possible launch dates.