Team Near Space Circus


The Eagle has landed! 

Team Near Space Circus has launched and recovered NSC-01 on April 21st.

And so is the cluster (networked) of 7 Raspberry Pi and 8 cameras. AFAIK, this is the first multi node computing cluster ever sent to near space on a High Altitude Balloon flight. We like "First in Flight" in North Carolina :)

Cluster detail:

Preliminary information:

Launch 7:55 from Raylen Vineyard, in Mocksville, West of Winston Salem
Official everything off the ground, we are not holding the balloon anymore:7:57:24
Balloon burst: 9:05:57
Ballon back on earth: 9:39 in Hurdle Mills, North of Chapel Hill

Lost visual contact soon after takeoff, and primary and backup positioning systems failed to report during the flight... They were working perfectly just before we let the balloon go.

However, we got a ping from the balloon at 16:48:58! And thus, we were able to recover it.

A full debrief will happen at our next PYPTUG meeting this coming Monday the 27th in Winston-Salem. We'll talk some about the python code that ran the cluster, the realtime twitter position reporting, the simulation website, look at pretty pictures etc (picture of earth right after the balloon burst): 

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-1. 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.


Team Near Space Circus has had 7 meetings in total.

We are leaving the details of the First Meeting here, for posterity...

First Meeting

Our first meeting just concluded on Wednesday January 21st 2015. This was to cover the basic information, the requirements for the GSBC (Global Space Balloon Challenge) and to start assigning tasks. After watching the video of HPU's 2013 launch, Brad Barlow talked a bit about their experience, some tips for the team and had brought the HAB from their 2013 attempt.

We had Inmar's Photographer/Videographer (Matthew) to document this first meeting and provided some input on launch time. We didn't have any local artist or art school student present, which is unfortunate, but we did have musicians present, in the form of a cassette mix tape (if the Guardians Of the Universe can have their tape, so can we!)

Decisions made:

Name for the team: Near Space Circus.
Potential Launch Sites (more research needed): HPU, Meadowlark MS, WFIQ, Tanglewood Park, Pilot Mountain, Mocksville (vineyard). Far enough from Smith Reynolds Airport?
Launch Date: Not the 11th, but as early as we can in the April 10-27th deadline period. Weekday for school is good or bad?
Launch Time: Early in the day. Probably need to set up at or even before sunrise. Latest we should launch is 10am, after that we abort. Up to 1hr after sunrise will provide best looking pictures.
Balloon: commercial latex unit. Weight / lift, source and price TBD
Inflation: Helium (Hydrogen was deemed too dangerous given the team size and range in age). Can we reuse valve/fill adapter from HPU? Need a local source and price on tank.
Parachute: we always assumed one was needed, but perhaps not, we will investigate. Stability is important
Computing platform: 2 x Raspberry Pi model A+ for HAB (and model B+ for development). HPU will procure some for the HAB. We recommend those who will write Python code for the HAB to get a Raspberry Pi B+ to test their code. We talked about the GPIOs, the SPI, I2C, USB
Storage: Amazon has 64GB micro sdxc for about $35 (x2), best bang for the buck. Is that enough storage? If not, next step up at 128GB, but a tad over $100 per...
OS: Raspbian
Radar reflector: we could buy one, but Glenn and Brent will research and provide 2 finished units
Camera: Raspberry Pi camera module
Sensors: We are working on a list. Post your suggestions on the mailing list or straight to the wiki.
APRS: Jeff N4CAP will research the different options. He also talked a little bit about Amateur Radio and can assist any of us to prepare for the Technician License if anyone is interested
Power: Two RC model lithium ion batteries for redundancy. 3S so it is 12Vish, and we can run 5V through a converter. Capacity TBD based on estimated power consumption (see Tracking Spreadsheet)
Tracking spreadsheet: We will need a spreadsheet to have all items listed, dimensions, quantity, cost per and extended, weight per and extended, power consumption per and extended and a grand total of cost, weight and power consumption.
Notice: we need to designate someone who will track down who to contact and to actually contact prior to launch to issue a notice to pilots.
Rope: 25lbs rope max per GSBC contest (50lbs per FAA). Actual rope (paracord style but 25lbs) or fishing line (20-25lbs). Color has to be bright. Perhaps red or pink provides the best contrast on either grass or sky?
Rope interconnect: was touched on, but nothing concrete yet.
Launch team: TBD
Recovery Team: TBD, but distinct from launch team
Tracking site: probably will use A python module needs to be found or written to get APRS data.
Automated tweeting: leverage APRS module to post tweets on twitter. Person responsible will also create an account for the HAB.
Experimental payloads: definitely have space. HPU has one potential. Image stabilisation is another potential. others?
Art payloads: One 35mm IR roll (homage to original NASA flights which used medium format Hasselblads), others?
Cocoon: the insulated payload "container". HPU used a foam minnow bucket. Other options discussed include looking at different shapes in order to provide as much stability as possible. open cell foam shaped around the payload?

This will go on the wiki once the next meeting is done and this page will be updated.

Look up some of our previous posts on the HAB >here<.

No comments:

Post a Comment