HAB-3: Final Touches and Launch Plans

By Josh Eiland · April 28, 2015

We’ve finalized our plans to launch at Lake Allatoona this coming Saturday. Fortunately, Bo knows the director of Camp High Harbor, which actually has a campus directly across from the boat ramp that we’re using. They’ve agreed to let us borrow a few of their canoes for the morning, so Bo and I will be in his boat (essentially a canoe with a motor) and we can tug a few other boats with photographers to the area where we’ll launch. We will inflate the balloon in a clear area by the boat ramp to avoid having to do this while on the water, and then take the inflated balloon out onto the lake.

Video

Our hope for the GSBC video is to create a dramatized recording of the launch itself as in previous videos, but we’re also toying with the idea of having the video include some sort of narrative. We were hoping to include Lucy, Mr. Wingate’s new puppy, but unfortunately we may have to settle for a Lego man or something of the sort.

GoPro Battery Testing

We’ve conducted tests to see how long the GoPros will last off the Anker battery, charging at standard conditions (room temperature). When we tested the Hero4 alone on the battery, it ran out of storage space (64gb MicroSD) after about 4.5 hours, and at that point the Anker still had over 2/3 of its charge remaining. In a test with both the Hero4 and Hero2 running simultaneously with the Anker… (update based on test on Monday).

Datalogger

Despite suffering from some last-minute issues with the datalogger (in typical Makers Club style) we’ve managed to reach out to Adafruit about the SD shield’s inability to record the data from our sensors to our SD card, and we’re confident that this problem will be sorted out by launch.

HAM Radio

We’re currently working with our HAM radio expert, Mr. Wingate, to look into ways that will enable us to decode the messages of the on-board unit. He has a ton of experience in using HAM radio to track down objects, and has been (and will continue to be) an invaluable resource in this learning process.

Structure

Once again using the classic Lightning McQueen lunchbox, we’ve managed to perfectly fit all of the payload contents into the foam insulation by cutting out a compartment from the middle layers. The sensors will be mounted directly outside of the last zippable section of the lunchbox, which will allow us to minimize unnecessary wires and holes in the lunchbox. We plan to secure this opening with tape, but the burnt section of the zipper (which requires additional force to pull the zipper over) will also hopefully prevent the gap from widening during the flight.