Homemade Spacecraft

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doublehelix

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This could have gone in a number of forums, but I couldn't decide on which one, so I'm posting it here. This is one of THE COOLEST things I've seen - what an awesome dad!

http://vimeo.com/15091562

"Video from a camera attached to a weather balloon that rose into the upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space."

I won't spoil it, just take a look. :cool:

-dh
 
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brandbll

Guest
This one won't work on my work computer but i'm excited to see it. I do remember seeing the video the guy from Michigan posted just a while back and i thought it was pretty cool!
 
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bushwhacker

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DH that was so cool.. sorry it wouldnt work for you brandbll
 
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doublehelix

Guest
Hi everyone - I just applied some custom BBCode for Vimeo videos and am using this as a test. Please let me know if you have problems seeing this!

-dh

[vimeo]15091562[/vimeo]
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
A couple friends of mine and I have been there several times this last year with pure telemetry and avionics. In April we're going back with expensive HD video and high resolution still imaging.
 
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Mee_n_Mac

Guest
doublehelix":1jqs5ze8 said:
Hi everyone - I just applied some custom BBCode for Vimeo videos and am using this as a test. Please let me know if you have problems seeing this!

-dh
Worked for me (Vimeo embedding). Also pretty cool stuff, seems we're seeing more of these high altitude balloon flights w/video. I take that as a good sign. The next step ... some guidance to return to vehicle back to (or close to) it's launch site.
 
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adrenalynn

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With winds of 200+ mph, you're not likely to see any guidance being very good at bucking the jetstream. For 20-30mins up, 15-25mins down we are entirely at the mercy of the jetstream. You're gonna need to put large engines on it to swim up that stream, and when you do, you're then trying to swim upstream of FAR Part 101.
 
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Mee_n_Mac

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adrenalynn":1sl3simu said:
With winds of 200+ mph, you're not likely to see any guidance being very good at bucking the jetstream. For 20-30mins up, 15-25mins down we are entirely at the mercy of the jetstream. You're gonna need to put large engines on it to swim up that stream, and when you do, you're then trying to swim upstream of FAR Part 101.
The jet stream runs above 30kft or so. I wouldn't bother trying to run any guidance above it. Imagine something shaped akin to a GBU with similar functionality ('cept for the explosives of course). It's hauled to altitude by it's tail fins and when released drops nose first. Put a camera in the nose, perhaps make it scan. Should make for nice pictures. Add some streamers or parachute or whatever, if it's needed, to slow the descent but not so much that the jet stream drags it too far off target during the descent (not much you can do about that during the ascent). Once below the jet stream activate the fins to direct the "GBU" to guide back towards it's launch site (or some other location). Release the drogue chute/streamer/XYZ if need be. A GPS should suffice for the position info. Add a compass to get the orientation of the RV's control fins wrt the target location. At some "low" altitude pop the main chute and let it drift the last few hundred feet to the ground. Got to be better than chasing it all over the countryside. It's not like I'm looking for a CEP of a 100', a mile might be a good target number. My guess is that 20kft of altitude (for guidance) would allow the RV to make up for a lot of lateral displacement due to the winds. Heck it could even become a competition, like they do in hot air ballooning, trying to see who can come closest to the desired target location. :mrgreen:
 
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a_lost_packet_

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doublehelix":2v9omb9q said:
Hi everyone - I just applied some custom BBCode for Vimeo videos and am using this as a test. Please let me know if you have problems seeing this!

-dh
Sweet! Works fine once I give vimeo and their vid pusher permissions! I'm glad to see Vimeo as an addition to post options. Nicely done!
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
Mee_n_Mac":3amoamv4 said:
The balloon can end-up 150-300miles away from the launch position. And even something falling nose-down at terminal velocity is going to be displaced. Don't forget that we're talking 100kft up, 100kft down, with 20kft or more of jetstream and ascent speeds of 1000ft/min tops.
 
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doublehelix

Guest
a_lost_packet_":1z1929kl said:
Sweet! Works fine once I give vimeo and their vid pusher permissions! I'm glad to see Vimeo as an addition to post options. Nicely done!
I'll be investigating other custom BBCodes to introduce to the forums, too. I'll start another thread on that, though, probably in Community Talkback, asking for suggestions from you guys as to what you'd like to see.

-dh
 
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a_lost_packet_

Guest
doublehelix":28ll82p8 said:
I'll be investigating other custom BBCodes to introduce to the forums, too. I'll start another thread on that, though, probably in Community Talkback, asking for suggestions from you guys as to what you'd like to see.

-dh
Sweet!

December bonus-padding time coming up?

:D

(PS - Really though, THANKS!)
 
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orionrider

Guest
Very cool; however space begins at about 300,000ft, that's 3 x the altitude of the balloon. So it can't be called a 'spacecraft'. ;)
 
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doublehelix

Guest
a_lost_packet_":3o9cipbj said:
Sweet!

December bonus-padding time coming up?

:D

(PS - Really though, THANKS!)
Ha ha! :lol: Nope, just looking for opportunities to make some improvements around here, that doesn't require me to request developer time, which is always in short supply. :mrgreen:

-dh
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
orionrider":dsxnop12 said:
Very cool; however space begins at about 300,000ft, that's 3 x the altitude of the balloon. So it can't be called a 'spacecraft'. ;)
It IS technically a spacecraft. You're thinking of outer-space, rather than near-space. It's a Near-Space craft vs outer-space-craft if you want to pick nits. Anything leaving the edge of the atmosphere is in near-space.

And even so, that number is just a loose convention anyway.

From a practical standpoint, though, that near-space craft is in a much harsher environment than the Mars rovers at any given time. 1/7th-ish the average martian atmosphere, a very strong vacuum at 100kft, fractions of a millibar. It can be colder than the average martian temperature at the top of the tropopause. The near-space craft needs to be able to withstand 350MPH+ winds for more than an hour. The list goes on. Don't underestimate the challenges of near-space.
 
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orionrider

Guest
a much harsher environment than the Mars rovers at any given time. 1/7th-ish the average martian atmosphere, a very strong vacuum at 100kft, fractions of a millibar.
Actually, the air pressure at 100,000ft (30,500m) is 1.1KPa or 11 millibar. The average surface pressure on Mars is lower at 0.6KPa.

While it goes all the way to 'near space', a balloon is by definition an aircraft since it needs to be in the atmosphere to float. ;)
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
At 110kft we've measured 6.614mbar @ 264.26deg K. (Don't forget station temperature since that effects station pressure, and be a little cautious with the 1976 model, it's based largely on extrapolation from a few pilot balloons fed into ideal gas law)

The average surface pressure measured by Viking, as I remember it, was 8mbar year-round (I think that was R. Zubrin, "The Case for Mars").

Balloons have made it to 170k+ft.
 
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Mee_n_Mac

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adrenalynn":3b5anqqq said:
The balloon can end-up 150-300miles away from the launch position. And even something falling nose-down at terminal velocity is going to be displaced. Don't forget that we're talking 100kft up, 100kft down, with 20kft or more of jetstream and ascent speeds of 1000ft/min tops.
Agreed that trying to write off 100 miles is just too much w/o making the RV into some high performance sailplane-ish thing. Perhaps it would be better to estimate the general direction and distance that the balloon will be carried that day and program in some convenient landing site "nearby" to that. Have the RV go there and you meet it ? Perhaps on some days you get lucky and don't have to drive too far. Gotta beat trekking through the woods or peoples back yards.
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
My forecasts have put us close enough to catch the payload once, 6mi from it the another time, and almost 20mi a third.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
http://www.nasahackspace.org : Make Magazine: 10 Do-It-Yourself Space Projects
Posted by Keith Cowing

on October 9, 2010



MAKE blasts into orbit and beyond with our DIY SPACE issue. Put your own satellite in orbit, launch a stratosphere balloon probe, and analyze galaxies for $20 with an easy spectrograph! We talk to the rocket mavericks reinventing the space industry, and renegade NASA hackers making smartphone robots and Lego satellites. Of course, as usual, we've got a full payload of other cool DIY projects, from a helium-balloon camera that's better than Google Earth, to an electromagnetic levitator that shoots aluminum rings, to a simple stroboscope that takes the most amazing freeze-frame photos.

Plus: party-pleasing automated photo booth that prints out photo strips, MythBusters' Adam Savage teaches you hard-shell moldmaking, and much more. MAKE Volume 24, on sale October 26.

Short listing of articles:

- Making Your Own Satellites by Chris Boshuizen - Build and launch your own sat for as little at $8,000
- Rocket Men by Charles Platt - Mavericks of the Private Space Industry
- Listening to Satellites by Diana Eng - Tune in to space with a homemade yagi antenna
- Weather Balloon Space Probes by John Baichtal - Sense, signal and snap photos in the stratosphere.
- High Resolution Spectrograph b Simon Quellen Field - Lab-worthy spectrum analysis for cheap
- Five Cool Participatory Space Projects by Ariel Waldman
- Cash Prizes for Space Scientists by John Baichtal - A summary of student and professional challenges
- Space Science Gadgets You Can Make for NASA - by Matthew F. Reyes
- Open Sourcing Space by Dale Dougherty
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
Darn Make. That sounds like it'll make our whole program look like a knock-off. [pout]
 
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phaze

Guest
Not to be a wet blanket, but isn't this kind of dangerous? You don't really know where it's going to go and if the parachute fails, this thing would probably hurt if it lands on you, no?
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
Yeah, the odds of a < 6lb package plummeting onto you in the middle of an open area after traveling 30-300miles and falling from 100k feet are just unacceptable risk. :lol: You can also generally see them coming from about 30kft away, so I can't imagine how stupid you'd have to be to get hit by it.

Those of us that launch these consider ourselves lucky to predict the eventual landing within miles.

NOAA launches something like 74,000/yr. In the decades they've been doing that, there has never been a documented case of a person being hit, or an airplane strike being made. There is some remote chance of ending-up on a freeway or something. It's something we go far out of our way to lessen. But, at least in our case, we have triple-redundant avionics timeslicing our GPS coordinates every few seconds, and we're required to notify the FAA as we cross certain flight-levels. We also have cut-downs as a failure case for it looking like we're going to land on Goldstone, Area 51, or the White House Lawn. [snicker] ) There's a LOT of time to prepare for a worst-case scenario, even in a freefall failure (which is absolutely a worst-case since we'd prefer not to destroy a thousand plus dollars in hardware by augering it into the ground either)

Compare that to the odds we face of being killed in an auto accident driving hundreds of miles to and from our release sites.

Believe me, the FAA (in the form of FAR Part 101) has us by the proverbial short-hairs as far as safety is concerned.
 
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