After a three year hiatus, we'll finally be putting up another balloon. The 2014 mission has started to be a very ambitious endeavour, this being the first time we're using Raspberry Pi to coordinate all of the science box operations. As a matter of fact, we'll be putting up 3 Pi's. Each one will be running a 'PiCam', one pointing up, one pointing down and one pointing toward the horizon. The PiCams can be set programmatically to take snapshots or video (and many other settings) and we plan to provide a GPS input to the RasPi so they will change automatically depending on altitude. In particular, we hope to get video of the balloon burst, but since nothing could be more boring that watching a balloon get gradually larger for an hour, we'll take snapshots with the "Up" camera until we get to around 85,000 feet, then switch over to video to catch the balloon burst. We will probably leave the video running on that particular camera to try and catch what actually happens to the ballon after burst. We know it gets pretty violent up there.

In order to alleviate the violent thrashing that occurs during descent, we will be testing Larry's ingenious cutdown idea. Cutting the balloon away so that it falls harmlessly from the descent package is something that we have been kicking around since we first noticed the missing antennae and sensors on the 2008 package. The biggest problem with a cutdown lies in knowing exactly when the balloon bursts. We don't want to cut prematurely, which would limit the maximum altitude, but we don't want to wait until the package is halfway back to Earth either. What Larry has proposed is a set of contacts connected to opposite sides of the parachute. Since the parachute will be 'furled' during the ascent stage, the contacts will stay connected for the ride up. Once the balloon bursts, the parachute will immediately fill and open, thereby disconnecting the contacts. During this mission, we will route the connectors to GPIO pins on one of the Pi's to see exactly when the disconnect occurs. If it works, we should be able to route the contacts through a heater element that will burn through the nylon cord that we use between the balloon and parachute.

The geiger counter will be going up againg this time, this time with modified programming to keep it from overwriting the memory once the storage is full. In addition, Larry's weather module will be going up once again. This time he's modified it to take advantage of the I2C functions of the RasPi.


Tentative Launch date set for Saturday, 14 June 2010.


ENDV05 - Mission Statistics
Launch Date: June 14, 2014
Launch Time: 8:59:28 EST (GPS Clock)
Launch Site: 3050.17855N 8355.26531W (30 50 10.713N ; 83 55 15.9186W)
Landing Time: 11:23:19 EST (GPS Clock) (Landed between 14 and 25 seconds, averaged to 19)
Landing Site: 3047.38656N 8342.69174W (30 47 23.1936N ; 83 42 41.5044W)
Mission Time: 2h 23m 51s (Launch to Landing)
Distance Launch to Landing: 12.844 miles Bearing 104.5 degrees
Max Reported Altitude: 97208ft/29629m @ 3047.716N 8350.320W (30 47 42.96N ; 83 50 19.2W)
Additional Info: This was the first mission that we visually observed the package under parachute prior to landing.