Project Astroleo: Our HAB is Ready for Launch!

Our custom, student-designed, student-built, student-programmed HAB rig is finally ready for launch. PVC pipe structure with 3D printed joint connectors. RaspberryPi controller with SenseHat data logger coded with Python. PiCamera capturing HDMI video and stuffed Astroleo selfie-shots. Arduino GPRS+GSM tracking system. 3D printed cases and mounts all the electronics.

Let’s hope for a clear day with kind winds in the future. Our planned launch is halted if we don’t have clear skies or if the prevailing winds would blow the balloon into NYC airspace, or simply send the rig over the Atlantic Ocean where we cannot recover the payload.

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Project Astroleo: Progress

Our student-designed HAB rig is coming together! Just a few more tests and tweaks. We’ve been building and gluing the PVC rig together, fitting the 3D printed parts, modifying the sensor and GPS tracking programs for our Raspberry Pi, and testing the results… we take a walk around the park with all the components turned on, and then we read the data after we return. Onward and upward.

Project Astroleo: Division of Labor

The MakerClub is set to tackle a new challenge: building our own High-Altitude Balloon (HAB) from scratch. Last year we put together a HAB kit from High Altitude Science and did have much good fortune and success, but this year we want to burst the abstraction barrier and design own own rig and code our own sensor computer.

To accomplish this task everyone has to chip in, so students have elected to form different teams to build the many parts of this contraction. Rig engineers will prototype physical designs, sensor programmers will use Python to code a Raspberry Pi with sense hat to log weather data, camera coders will enable a PiCam to record video of the journey, 3D modelers will locate and design custom 3D printed parts for the equipment, and our documentary team will record the design process with photos and video interviews.

Watch our planning & goals presentation here:

High Altitude Balloon (HAB) Video

Our 6th grade Science teacher, Mr. Raikes, has posted a video synopsis of our near-space balloon project that he pioneered with the help of a parent volunteer, Jeff Tarr, and my advisees in our school’s MakerClub. Students from the MakerClub assembled the balloon rig and instrumentation for recording weather data. The balloon was launched on April 21st, 2015. The video speaks for itself though!