Wednesday, April 22, 2015

PYPTUG Monthly meeting: Team Near Space Circus #NSC01 mission debrief

PYthon Piedmont Triad User Group meeting

Come join PYPTUG at out next monthly meeting (April 27th 2015) to learn more about the Python programming language, modules and tools. Python is the perfect language to learn if you've never programmed before, and at the other end, it is also the perfect tool that no expert would do without. Monthly meetings are in addition to our project nights.


Meeting will start at 5:30pm.

We will open on an Intro to PYPTUG and on how to get started with Python, PYPTUG activities and members projects, then on to News from the community. And of course, the main part of the meeting:

Main Feature

Title: "Team Near Space Circus NSC-01 mission debrief"

We'll talk some about the python code that ran the cluster, that took the pictures the realtime twitter position reporting, the simulation website, the Picavet, look at pretty pictures

Balloon burst in near space, it's going down!

 Lightning talks! 

We will have some time for extemporaneous "lightning talks" of 5-10 minute duration. If you'd like to do one, some suggestions of talks were provided here, if you are looking for inspiration. Or talk about a project you are working on.


Monday, April 27th 2015
Meeting starts at 5:30PM


Wake Forest University,
close to Polo Rd and University Parkway:

Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109

 Map this

See also this campus map (PDF) and also the Parking Map (PDF) (Manchester hall is #20A on the parking map)

And speaking of parking:  Parking after 5pm is on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The official parking policy is:
"Visitors can park in any general parking lot on campus. Visitors should avoid reserved spaces, faculty/staff lots, fire lanes or other restricted area on campus. Frequent visitors should contact Parking and Transportation to register for a parking permit.

Mailing List

Don't forget to sign up to our user group mailing list:

It is the only step required to become a PYPTUG member.

Meetup Group

In order to get a feel for how much food we'll need, we ask that you register your attendance to this meeting on meetup:

Monday, April 20, 2015

D - 1 to launch

Weather cooperation

Weather conditions are looking good for a launch of Team Near Space Circus' #NSC01 on Tuesday April 21st. Assuming sufficient visibility (FAA requirement), we will launch at sunrise or slightly after.

Launch site

Our launch site will be in Mocksville, about 15 minutes west of Winston-Salem, in North Carolina, USA. Specifically, from 3577 US-158 (Raylen vineyards)


On twitter, track us with #NSC01 and on 2M band, our transmitter is using the call sign N4CAP-11. We also invite you to bookmark this website and come back first thing in the morning (launch is around 6:45 EDT (that's 3:45 AM in California...), very convenient for European readers. We'll have the link to track our HAB journey.

See also:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why launch a balloon into near space

A Python user group and space?

If you've just stumbled on the PYPTUG website because you've heard of the imminent launch (April 21st) of Team Near Space Circus' NSC01 HAB (high altitude balloon) satellite, you'll want to read this background information as to why we decided to build one and to participate in the Global Space Balloon Challenge.

Rocket Man and the Near Space Circus

Our flight is an homage to some of the original NASA Balloon flights of 1969 described in the following 1971 NASA PDF document:

Earth Photography from High-Altitude Balloons

Finally, you'll want to marvel at how a hundred year old technology is as relevant today for near space exploration, as it was for photography back then (from ):

Vintage Kite Aerial Photography Postcard

Learn from the past - 103 years old technology in space

Thursday, April 9, 2015

PYPTUG Project night - Team Near Space Circus Last meeting before launch

To Space And Back - April 15th

This will be our last project night where we will focus on our HAB project: Sending a technical payload into space, and back, as part of the 2015 Global Space Balloon Challenge ( The project will include a payload that will pay homage to the first NASA balloon flights in 1969 designed to take large area photographs of the earth from a very high altitude.

The payload will include a computer with operating system, many python scripts and various hardware including sensors, transmitters and other tech gear.

You might think, the project is almost done. Nothing left to do. Not true! We need volunteers to help on launch day, so please RSVP and come by if you can:

This meeting will be on Wednesday, Apr. 15 at 6pm in the Dash room at Inmar:


635 Vine St,
Room 1130H "Dash"
Winston-Salem, NC

This will be at the Inmar building in downtown Winston Salem.­

Weather and mission planning is ongoing on the PYPTUG mailing list:!forum/pyptug

And look for the Near Space Technical Payload Official Thread (should be at the top)

Keep an eye on this site for progress reports. At launch, you will be able to track the actual balloon through a web page. We've been running simulations from a Flask python web app for the past few days, and will continue until launch.

Tentative launch date will be determined on the 15th, but it looks at this time like the 20th at sunrise.