High Altitude Balloon

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This is completely doable as a hobbyist!

From Wikipedia:

High altitude balloons are unmanned balloons, usually filled with helium or hydrogen that are released into the stratosphere, generally reaching between 60,000 and 120,000 feet (18,000 - 36,500m).

The most common type of high altitude balloons are weather balloons, other purposes may involve scientific groups and universities for conducting experiments in the upper atmosphere, and modern balloons generally contain electronic equipment such as radio transmitters, cameras, and sometimes satellite navigation systems, such as GPS receivers.

These balloons are launched into what is termed "near space" - the area of Earth's atmosphere where there is very little air, but which is not high enough to be in the realm of satellites.

The hackerspace project

  • Find a weather balloon.
Tror at dmi frivilligt afgiver deres gamle (Davsebamse)
  • Find helium or hydrogen.
  • Find a digital camera and write some software that makes it snap a photo every five seconds or so. There are open firmwares for IXUS/Powershot cameras that probably supports stuff like that.
What a bout a cheap webcam? And how do we get the photos of the camera? (Davsebamse)
Why not get the best quality pictures while we're at it? We will get the camera back when the balloon falls anyway. We get the pictures from the memory card. (Jchillerup 15:14, 29 May 2009 (CEST))
  • Figure out how to hook it all up with some sort of GPS tracking system.
Either strip an old gps unit or buy a cheap one of sparkfun combined with a gumstix! (Davsebamse)
  • Go!
  • Panton has researched a great deal of this issue.

On the longer term

If this project is ever done, we could maybe have talks with people wanting to know how to do such things, thus giving us the ability to indoctrinate them in the hackerspace way of thinking and doing things :). I think this is doable, and I think this would be a good way to kickstart our space.