It’s been a while since I last updated the blog.

PCBs

Since then, the new flight computer pcb (printed circuit board) has been manufactured and two boards have kindly been soldered up by Anthony Stirk. They are looking great – at just approx 3×3.5cm they save on space too (which will be vital in the HABE Glider).

 

HABE Flight Computer v2.0. Two boards populated & soldered.

HABE Flight Computer v2.0. Two boards populated & soldered.

I am currently testing them out with code and hope to fly them both soon.

Hourly Predictor

For a while I have been meaning to set up the CUSF hourly predictor. Yesterday I got around to installing it on my linux (Ubuntu) server – didn’t take too long but grabbing the wrong files initially didn’t help. It is now up and running at http://panther.acudworth.co.uk/hourly. It shows predictions for up to 180 hours in the future (obviously closer to the current time will be more accurate), helping to get an idea of when best to launch.

Plans

Having not done a launch since last October time I am certainly ready for another! There are however many things to sort before the next launch. My next flight (HABE 7) will be a purely experimental flight – testing out systems that will be used in both the HABE Lab and HABE Glider missions. Some of the features I’m working on for the next flight:

  • Testing of the new flight computers.
  • Dual payloads, each with their own tracker running on different frequencies to avoid downlink radio clash.
  • Mid-flight separation using a pyrotechnic cutdown module, one payload will carry on ascending whilst the other one falls back to earth via parachute – this will be required for the HABE Glider mission.
  • Uplink test – this requires syncing up downlink transmissions between the two payloads as to allow a brief ‘quiet’ period for the uplink transmission to get through. This is probably the most ambitious bit of the flight.
  • Extending cameras out on a boom so they face inward, looking at payload(s) with the backdrop of Earth/Space.

I will be using a Pawan 1200g balloon, hopefully this one won’t fail on me @ 23km in altitude like the last one did. Hydrogen will most likely be used instead of helium due to the significant increasing cost of helium (that will be a first for me). New parachutes will be tested – old one that lasted 6 missions is stuck in a big tree!