High Altitude Photographic Balloon

[Earl Foster] recently completed his 4th high altitude photographic balloon (HAPB-4) launch. This launch reached a peak altitude of 106,384 feet, and lasted about 3 hours. The final weight of the capsule was 5lb 3-3/8 oz, with all the electronics, GPS, digital camera, and HD video camera. His balloons operate under the exempt rules of FAA Part 101 subpart a governing unmanned balloon flight. This program has been setup to encouraging interest in science, mathematics, and engineering through unmanned ballooning. HAPB-4 uses a Parallax SPIN Stamp microcontroller, this multicore chip offers eight 32-bit processors (cogs) sharing 32kB RAM and ROM. Having eight separate COG’s allows him to log GPS data, control the camera, log and monitor sensors, and control LCD functions simultaneously with minimal hardware. During this flight he did have some equipment failures, but he was still able to capture some nice pictures.

6 thoughts on “High Altitude Photographic Balloon

  1. Actually they didn’t meet all FAA regulations. Yes it was under the 6lb payload but they launched it before sunrise (7:01 on August 31st) which is not allowed. Other than that, great project.

  2. indeed, dok is right

    under § 101.35 Equipment and marking requirements.

    “(b) No person may operate an unmanned free balloon below 60,000 feet standard pressure altitude between sunset and sunrise (as corrected to the altitude of operation) unless the balloon and its attachments and payload, whether or not they become separated during the operation, are equipped with lights that are visible for at least 5 miles and have a flash frequency of at least 40, and not more than 100, cycles per minute.”

    very cool though, i love this stuff

  3. wait.. wouldn’t this cover it?

    “I set the external signal lights to flash at 40 pulses per minute below 60,000 feet in accordance with FAA rules even though I am flying exempt.”

  4. The High Altitude Photographic Balloon use a Parallax BS2px and is responsible for reading and recording latitude, longitude, time, altitude and taking pictures.High-altitude plastic balloons are only partially inflated at launch to allow for gas expansion as the balloon climbs.

    viral marketing

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