Dezrin
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Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:48 am

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Pitellite is a Raspberry Pi based miniature satellite. The plan is to send a Raspberry Pi into low orbit or even orbit. From there the Pi will send data via radio transmissions of its GPS co-ordinates, live video and images, it will also be running its own website with live updates from space!

I have had experience with working with Pi in the past and am currently working with one now to develop what will be needed to operate the Pi from space in terms of emergency software etc. Backing this project will make it possible to send a Pi into space and give you access to the Pi and even get your own Pi-craft. There will be many experienced people working on this project with me, we will get a Pi into space!

To get the Pi into space is going to take 2 different steps, we're going to need to get it to the edge of space and then into orbit, this will be done through an advanced weather balloon to rocket powered system that will take a lot of work and money.

We will be powering the Pi with a solar panel housing which will charge a battery and power the Pi and all the electronic systems on board.

I may need some help with this and it would be great to hear some of your ideas for this project. This project is going to take more money than my bank account will allow me to have, so I have made it an official startup project here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pitel ... /x/6257559
http://www.pitellite.org.uk/home/

Thanks for reading my project idea, again some feedback would be great! :D
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mahjongg
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Re: Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:55 am

first you need to remove all the electrolytic and tantalium capacitors from the PI, they would explode in a vacuum!
secondly probably none of the electronics on a PI is radiation hard, especially not when it uses more than a few volts, 3V3 logic might be better than the 5V logic, but no guarantees it will survive space conditions.

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Re: Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:28 pm

There's a big difference between near-space on a balloon (40km by Dave Akerman) and orbit - a bit higher (160km) but rather higher velocity, about 8km/sec
Wikipedia has a nice page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_Earth_orbit

From earth-surface you need about 9.4km/s delta-v to reach orbit. Using a balloon reduces that by 1.5km/s

dan3008
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Re: Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:59 pm

mahjongg wrote:first you need to remove all the electrolytic and tantalium capacitors from the PI, they would explode in a vacuum!
Encasing the whole thing in a solid block of resin, or something like araldite should make it strong enough to survive a vacuum?
dan3008 wrote:Pays your money, takes your choice

PiGraham
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Re: Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:29 pm

Dezrin wrote:To get the Pi into space is going to take 2 different steps, we're going to need to get it to the edge of space and then into orbit, this will be done through an advanced weather balloon to rocket powered system that will take a lot of work and money.
That's an understatement! I admire your vision, but it doesn't sound very realistic. You would need much, much more than £3000 to get anything into Earth orbit.

Unless you get into orbit proper, and therefore stay up for days (at least), batteries will probably be more weight efficient than PV solar cells.

Who are the 'many experienced people working on this project'? You really should have a clear plan for how to reach orbit, and explain it to potential backers, before inviting people to give you money.
Last edited by PiGraham on Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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mahjongg
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Re: Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:28 pm

dan3008 wrote:
mahjongg wrote:first you need to remove all the electrolytic and tantalium capacitors from the PI, they would explode in a vacuum!
Encasing the whole thing in a solid block of resin, or something like araldite should make it strong enough to survive a vacuum?
Well, that would probably work, except that it would add massively to the weight of the system, so not a practical solution. Simply replace all non ceramic capacitors with ceramic ones. Nowadays thats possible , even for a few hundred microfarad. Coating may be done, using "conformal coating", when everything is tested and working, as after coating it becomes very difficult to repair things, especially as most coatings are toxic when heated.

But you did bring up another issue, and that is mechanical strength. Anything that is fired into orbit with a rocket must be extremely vibration proof!

There is yet another issue, but that would only be an issue when using higher voltages, (above a few hundred volt) and that is that at near vacuum the isolation voltage of gasses is lowered in the extreme (think neon bulbs), due to the "Paschen effect". But at low voltages as 3.3V that won't be an issue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paschen's_law

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Re: Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:54 pm

The OP is basically describing The Register's LOHAN project.

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daveake
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Re: Pitellite - A Raspberry Pi based satellite

Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:52 pm

PiGraham wrote:The OP is basically describing The Register's LOHAN project.
Well, despite the name, LOHAN (which I have something to do with) won't reach orbit. It's just a plane with a tiddly rocket motor.

A lot of the stuff for LOHAN has been donated, but if it hadn't £3000 certainly wouldn't cover the cost of the hardware and other expenses, let alone the free time given by me and others.

Getting your own craft into orbit for £3000 is not going to happen. Period.

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