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High altitude balloon payload, from Sable-3 discussion
dvandorn
post Sep 29 2007, 05:22 AM
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Have y'all thought about where you'd want to fly this thing? Most of the U.S. has severe restrictions on flying any non-commercial, non-military vehicle above about 2,000 feet, and there are a lot of places where the restriction is lower than that, or where you can't fly anything. Most of this is due to airlanes, landing patterns, etc., but some has to do with laws against unlicensed surveillance.

I can't imagine Europe is a lot more open about this kind of thing -- if anything, Europe has more crowded skies than does the U.S.

And to add another inconvenient point -- even if you could launch from, say, the U.K., won't the camera pod come down several hundred miles from the launch point? There are a lot of things several hundred miles away from Britain that aren't very welcoming places for recovery of a pod -- the North Sea and the Alps are a couple that come to mind.

Just asking the obvious question I haven't seen raised yet... rolleyes.gif

-the other Doug


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Astrophil
post Sep 29 2007, 11:02 AM
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Here's an idea for a future mission: re-enact the Huygens probe.

You'd need three cameras (or two if one had a big enough FOV), arranged so as to cover the angles covered by Huygens' cameras. Once you'd recovered the payload, you'd release a subset of the pictures, downgraded to Huygens quantity and quality. The challenge then is to stitch them together as people did with Huygens, making mosaics of the landscape and identifying the landing spot in it if possible.

It'd be an interesting game - and it'd help one imagine what the Huygens imagery really means.
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djellison
post Sep 29 2007, 11:10 AM
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Actually - the FAA ( and I'm looking up the UK version, the CAA ) are fairly liberal with these things up to a certain mass. Many of these balloons have ( and indeed one is going up today ) been launched from the UK - in a typical 2hr up 30 min down flight - you'll cover something like 30-100 miles. Launching from the western UK ( Wales ) would put you back down in central UK.

I think the flight reg analogy is that if you're not going to launch something heavier than a duck, then what's the problem as no law's going to ground all the ducks and swans at 12000 ft smile.gif \

I got bored - I went out to Maplin ( local electronics store ) and thought that I might need some soldering practice, as whatever we make I'm sure some soldering - even if just for power leads - will be required. They've got LOADS of cheap little kits - so I found the only one that seemed to make any sense for a payload...a small super bright white LED strobe kit. I figure I can rewire the LED's to be external to the WEB on cables running out the box, and perhaps on strut I thought we could mount a WAM for self portraits and in the case that we're still looking for the payload at night...it might help find it. smile.gif Three little transistors, two capacitors, half a dozen resistors, a variable resistor and a brace of switches - cute little setup really (and suprisingly bright)

Sorry - crap pics - using my cell phone's camera.

And I've found a supplier for a suitably sized parachute for a 2kg payload ( 36 inch diam ) - it's on its way.



Doug
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djellison
post Sep 29 2007, 09:52 PM
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Just a bit of fun using Google Sketchup. Never used it until about an hour ago, it's amazing!

The GMC is somethign I already have. It's a £20 digital camera that takes 1280 x 1024 images at pre-determined intervals. It runs from a single AAA. The Convex Mirror would be the sort you can get to stick on your car side mirror to see blind spots. Having the GMC as a stand alone component is a good move for redundency. I want to see if I can make the GMCSA from what was 'cat cam' - some foam, a mirror ,and then put it in the freezer to see how long it can last.

I got some foam insulation yesterday - and it's too thick really - 50mm thick which is a bit crazy. The thermal properties are amazing, just leaning up againt it you feel hot after 5 seconds because it's not letting heat get away, it's bizarre.

Anyway - if anyone wants the GSU file - let me know smile.gif

I'm still aiming for something like 10 x 10 x 15-20 internal space - and then if the foam is a few cm thick, you can always carve into it a little.

Weather permitting, I'll be going to Cambridge next Sunday to see a launch by James - http://www.pegasushabproject.org.uk/ -
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ElkGroveDan
post Sep 29 2007, 10:04 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 29 2007, 01:52 PM) *
Just a bit of fun using Google Sketchup. Never used it until about an hour ago, it's amazing!

Never heard of it before. Thanks for the idea. Any idea what all "pro" does.


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djellison
post Sep 29 2007, 10:10 PM
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I think it just lets you interface with other formats more easily (import and export 3DS etc ), and do pretty plans. As it is - GSU (£free) is making me hate 3ds max (£thousands) for lacking the annotation tool.
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ngunn
post Sep 30 2007, 07:54 AM
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I really hope you guys pull this off. Unfortunately I've got nothing technical to contribute, just a greedy suggestion:

Fly two of the things in tandem, set to separate at some altitude. You could get beautiful stereo cloud imagery. I can imagine something like this being done on Titan one day to study the morphology of storms there. Earth's atmosphere seems the perfect place to try it out.
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remcook
post Sep 30 2007, 09:30 AM
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Cool project! How much would a weather balloon set one back these days?

I think for the stereo idea you'd want the two cameras on the same platform (a bit like the SIM mission) since the balloons will drift apart quite quickly and randomly I would think,.
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remcook
post Sep 30 2007, 09:43 AM
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By the way, did this link get mentioned?

http://www.ukhas.org.uk/

Seems like this might be useful in this case.
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ugordan
post Sep 30 2007, 09:58 AM
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QUOTE (remcook @ Sep 30 2007, 11:30 AM) *
I think for the stereo idea you'd want the two cameras on the same platform (a bit like the SIM mission) since the balloons will drift apart quite quickly and randomly I would think,.

Yet the baseline you can feasibly pull off in such a way would be useless for producing stereo of clouds tens of kilometers below. I think stereo is a no-go here.


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Juramike
post Sep 30 2007, 02:50 PM
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The twin balloon idea is pretty good. Launching two simultaneously from slightly different locations will give some really cool information:

If they stay together, you could pull off a stereo image. (Launcing them a few kilometers apart should give a stereo good baseline at altitude.)

If they drift apart, your tracking data gives great information on weather patterns.

With two balloons, you'll also get an idea of the consistency of ascent rate under nearly identitical conditions. And all the telemetry data will be doubled, so you get double information on performance that you can use to cross-check.

Two attempst also increase the chances of mission success, should one fail (or land on someone's roof).

Plus you'll have the fun of two recovery teams chasing around the countryside....

If they're cheap, send two! (which is pretty much my sentiment regarding all missions)

-Mike


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ugordan
post Sep 30 2007, 03:11 PM
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QUOTE (Juramike @ Sep 30 2007, 04:50 PM) *
If they stay together, you could pull off a stereo image. (Launcing them a few kilometers apart should give a stereo good baseline at altitude.)

Even if they stay together, there's no guarantee they'd be pointed in the same direction at any given time. You'd probably only get a couple of lucky shots, I'm not sure if it's worth launching 2 balloons just for that.


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djellison
post Sep 30 2007, 03:18 PM
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Plus -two of everything to buy (and in this case, there are not any savings) - double the ground-station equipment to acquire - double the number of people.

Lovely idea - but think of this more of Ranger rather than Mariner ( consecutive, not simultaneous )

Doug
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nprev
post Sep 30 2007, 06:33 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 30 2007, 08:18 AM) *
Lovely idea - but think of this more of Ranger rather than Mariner ( consecutive, not simultaneous )


Just as well, given that there was only one successful launch of a Mariner pair (6 & 7)... rolleyes.gif


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dvandorn
post Oct 1 2007, 04:37 AM
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Well... considering the fact that Voyagers 1 and 2 were originally to be Mariners (though I have no idea if they would have been Mariners 11 and 12 or not), we *almost* got a second successful pair-launch out of the program!

-the other Doug


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