Near-Space Launch 1
To raise a payload to 100,000 feet or 30.46 km by helium balloon with a maximum volume of 2.4 cubic meters, take pictures of the earths curvature, and return to earth for recovery. Keeping the cost of the mission as low as possible is the primary aspect of this mission.
Other missions to follow.
- before the end of May, 2010
- to be set
ebay sells weather balloons for $25 each for surplus balloons. We can also buy from here: http://www.kaymont.com/pages/home.cfm who are the largest maker of weather balloons in North America
based on our helium take volume of 2.4 cubic meters the balloon we will need is kci1000 less than 50
Helium: triCity Welding supplies can lease us a 3 foot tall tank that holds 3 cubic metres, which would be enough for 2 launches at least. total cost for tank, regulator and gas, $120.00
Hydrogen tricity welding supplies also sells hydrogen, but they only sell it to qualified companies or organizations because it is hazardous and before they will sell it to us they would want to have a sit down and talk with their experts before they would sell any to us, which is fair.
how will we manage the mission on the day of the launch? choose a launch site. buy a weather balloon. how to make a parachute or recovery system for payload? create enclosure figure out how cold it is going to get at altitude how to track it with gps? how to control the digital camera? How to test the payload before we launch? How to get, store and transport helium lift gas? How to fill the balloon. How to force the payload to come down if it does not pop at altitude? what is the best design for the balloon, payload harness what kind of power system and how much power will we need for the mission? how do we communicate with the payload? how should we label our payload so that if anyone finds it they wont steal it or call the police about it? how are we going to pay for this and track the money? how are we going to keep it warm inside the payload? how heavy our payload going to be so we can calulate which balloon we can get.
Found a good write-up on one projects payload here: http://n1vg.net/balloon/ - specifically recommends Garmin 18 unit (now EOL, replaced by Garmin 18x).
- PacketRadio options - "APRS" (see here: http://www.argentdata.com/products/aprs.html) -- APRS is about leveraging HAM radio infrastructure to achieve bi-directional communications with the payload regardless of altitude. Good online resources, high hackability. (Apparently there is a newer version of APRS being worked on called OpenTRAC).
- We have a 2 metre Amateur Radio we had donated to the project donated by Ron Gimbel from KWARC. It is a Kenwood TH-21AT 144 Mhz FM transceiver. Here is the documents for it.
- Cellular SMS options - only works up to certain altitude (~3000'?), and probably not enough time for the payload to get off messages as it passes through the low alitude section during return to earth, so we can assume that the Cellular would only operate once the package was resting on the ground again. Any failure of the cellular would therefore result in the balloon returning to earth virtually anywhere within a large area. Cellular also has potential issues with carrier access, hackability of the handsets.
APRS has the clear long term advantage in my view (Cedric), but we'll still need to make a choice for Launch #1.
The key bits for APRS:
- controller - $40 (eg: https://www.argentdata.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=64 picture: https://www.argentdata.com/catalog/popup_image.php?pID=64 ) - GPS - $100 (eg: http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/garmin/18x.html ) - information about local packet radio options - does anyone have an appropriate transceiver & knowledge for use as a base station?
- Canon Powershot A620 -- 235g - 9 AA lithium batteries (4 for camera, 5 for 7.5 volt power) -- 130g - 12 AA lithium batteries (4 for camera, 8 for 12 volt power) -- 175g - radio -- 170g - TNC -- 5g - arduino -- 30g - parachute, lines, swivel -- 450g (wild guess) - plastic view port -- 40g - GPS -- trimble serial (285g, 12volts) + antenna (85) -- 370g - GPS -- trimble usb (105g) + antenna (85g) -- 190g - beeper -- 5g - foam box -- 165g - total: 1410g (usb GPS), 1645g (serial GPS)
From the ministry of transport here is the relivant sections that apply to unmanned free balloon http://www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/regserv/affairs/cars/part6/602.htm
Unmanned Air Vehicles (amended 2003/12/01; previous version)
602.41 No person shall operate an unmanned air vehicle in flight except in accordance with a special flight operations certificate or an air operator certificate. (amended 2003/12/01; previous version)
Large Unoccupied Free Balloons
602.42 No person shall release an unoccupied free balloon having a gas-carrying capacity of more than 115 cubic feet (3.256 m3) except in accordance with an authorization issued by the Minister pursuant to section 602.44.
602.43 No person shall launch a rocket, other than a model rocket or a rocket of a type used in a fireworks display, except in accordance with an authorization issued by the Minister pursuant to section 602.44.
Authorization by the Minister
602.44 The Minister may issue an authorization referred to in section 602.42 or 602.43 where the release of the balloon or the launch of the rocket is in the public interest and is not likely to affect aviation safety.