rpiswag
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Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:48 am

I want to do some high altitude balloon flights with my pi but how do I get started. What balloons do you recommend and how do I get permission from the FAA (Because I live in the States) to do high altitude balloon flights. Do I need to add something to reflect radio waves so the FAA can track it so a plane doesn't hit it? Are there anything else I should be worried about like batteries or temp? I want my flight to last at minimum 100 days. I don't want the balloon to go so high it pops. I want to use the pi but if the pi uses to much power I was thinking about using the TI MSP-EXP432P401R because of it's incredibly low power. I would like to to have of cutting the string (maybe a hot resistor) that holds the pi remotely so I can drop the pi where I want to( I just have to wait until the pi floats over to where I want it).
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Heater
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:03 am

100 days!

Where do you do you think this balloon will be after 100 days? Or even 10? Or even 1?

How on earth are you going to recover it?

If you are prepared to lose it how are you going to communicate any useful data from it back home?

If you can't recover or communicate what would be the point?

All in all too ambitious. Start small. Can you build a system plus power supply that will run a long time? If not build one. Have you ever flown and recovered a balloon? Even for a very short flight? If not do so. Have you built or used a communication system that will deliver the data required over the distances involved? If not do so.

With that, and no doubt other "sub projects" under your belt you will be in a better position to size up this 100 day marathon flight idea.

In the mean time there are plenty of balloon flight stories around the net that you can learn from. I'm sure google can find them for you.


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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:46 pm

I've clipped out some posts that really should never have been posted in the first place.
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:50 pm

100 days is overly ambitious. A balloon could get round the world in that time. Even one day could do hundreds of miles. You won't be able to communicate with the balloon directly once out of sight, you'll need to use radio hams around the world for tracking.

As once of the deleted posts said, albeit rather rudely, you really need to do a little research before launching (sic) in to this sort of project and posting here about it All the information you need is out there - Google is your friend. Please do that research before posting - you are much more likely to get a decent response if you can show you have at least done a little investigation.
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:34 am

I would like to use a micro sd card to save data and a gps for tracking the balloon. I don't want to go to 80,000 km. I only want to go at max altitude of 40,000km to 50,000km. My ultimate long term goal to have a balloon pi fly for a full year or more. Again that is a very long term goal. I have done some high altitude ballooning but it was with a Arduino and was fairly simple. What balloon would you recommend for a 100+ day flight. What power source or power sources should I use? My other flights used batteries.
Last edited by rpiswag on Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:37 am

rpiswag wrote:gps for tracking the balloon.
so the balloon will know where it is.
and what about you?

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:42 am

It would be neat if I could get that balloon to tweet it's location using the twitter api. Would that use to much power? How high does cellular towers transmit at receive to?
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:52 am

Frankly, this is all Pi in the sky.

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:03 am

rpiswag wrote:It would be neat if I could get that balloon to tweet it's location using the twitter api. Would that use to much power? How high does cellular towers transmit at receive to?
Have a read about Google's "Project Loon" (Which you may find interesting)

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:15 am

rpiswag wrote:I would like to use a micro sd card to save data and a gps for tracking the balloon. I don't want to go to 80,000 km. I only want to go at max altitude of 40,000km to 50,000km. My ultimate long term goal to have a balloon pi fly for a full year or more. Again that is a very long term goal. I have done some high altitude ballooning but it was with a Arduino and was fairly simple. What balloon would you recommend for a 100+ day flight. What power source or power sources should I use? My other flights used batteries.
Here is NASA's effort to do something similar, which failed. Note, NASA has a very very very large budget.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/28 ... es_locals/


For 100 days or more you will probably need a radio isotope generator which uses nuclear decay to produce electricity. I suspect these are hard to come by.
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:25 am

40,000 km is outer space...

I think you mean feet, but airplanes fly up to 39,000 ft, so you have to get permission to fly it, track it and 100 days is simply impossible.

I don't think you understand the magnitude of this...
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:55 am

kusti8 wrote:I think you mean feet, but airplanes fly up to 39,000 ft
That's about the limit for civilian aircraft. Supersonic aircraft tend to fly higher, Concorde* used to cruise at 65,000ft. There are military aircraft (USAF U2) that are flying higher.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_May_ ... e_of_Space

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:41 pm

kusti8 wrote:40,000 km is outer space...

I think you mean feet, but airplanes fly up to 39,000 ft, so you have to get permission to fly it, track it and 100 days is simply impossible.

I don't think you understand the magnitude of this...
Actually I think he means meters.
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:15 pm

rpiswag,
It would be neat if I could get that balloon to tweet it's location using the twitter api. Would that use to much power? How high does cellular towers transmit at receive to?
I suspect you will not get a signal up there. Certainly not hundreds of miles out over the ocean as it is quite likely to be if it stays up even a tenth of the time you are asking for.

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:30 pm

Purely as a Pie in the Sky mental exercise could this work? Leaving aside legal-ish issues.

Rpiswag's balloon trails below it a few hundred meters of longwave radio aerial.
This is used to transmit hourly data updates of longitude, latitude and altitude.
Uses a low power microprocessor and a high capacity battery to power up the equipment only for a few seconds once per hour.

The balloon is over the horizon, somewhere on the other side of the world. Signal bounces off the ionosphere.

Rpiswag erects a longwave radio receiver on his roof. Recieves the signal, and relays the data onto the interweb?

gordon77
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:34 pm

How about fitting it with a satellite phone ?

ktb
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:39 pm

gordon77 wrote:How about fitting it with a satellite phone ?
That is what I was thinking... something like this http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=RENT-SP06

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:45 pm

ktb wrote:
gordon77 wrote:How about fitting it with a satellite phone ?
That is what I was thinking... something like this http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=RENT-SP06
and take out the insurance for losing it ;)

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:47 pm

gordon77 wrote:
ktb wrote:
gordon77 wrote:How about fitting it with a satellite phone ?
That is what I was thinking... something like this http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=RENT-SP06
and take out the insurance for losing it ;)
And take out a small mortgage to pay for the hardware rental and another small mortgage to pay for the calls.
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:56 pm

rpiswag wrote: I want my flight to last at minimum 100 days. I don't want the balloon to go so high it pops. I don't want to go to 80,000 km. I only want to go at max altitude of 40,000km to 50,000km. My ultimate long term goal to have a balloon pi fly for a full year or more. Again that is a very long term goal. I have done some high altitude ballooning but it was with a Arduino and was fairly simple. What balloon would you recommend for a 100+ day flight. What power source or power sources should I use? My other flights used batteries.
Given NASA's record is 55 days, at 40,000m (not km !) I'd suggest aiming for shorter flights to begin with...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science ... ecord.html
rpiswag wrote:I have done some high altitude ballooning but it was with a Arduino and was fairly simple.
How high, and how long did that flight last ?
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:03 pm

Wouldn't it be simpler just to attach a wire to the balloon.

It would solve all sorts of problems. The wire could be used to provide power and also to transmit control and receive telemetry. You could also determine the balloons 3D position by keeping track of how much wire had been paid out and measuring the angle from north and ground.

Of course it would have to be quite a fine wire for lightness. You could remove the insulation, which would save quite a bit of weight, as there would be nothing up in the sky to touch the wire. Safety is important. Perhaps flags and beacons could be attached every now and then to warn approaching aircraft.

Simples.

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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:06 pm

mikerr wrote: Given NASA's record is 55 days, at 40,000m (not km !) I'd suggest aiming for shorter flights to begin with...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science ... ecord.html
I wonder what size of budget a project like that runs with.
http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/balloons/
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:10 pm

DougieLawson wrote:
mikerr wrote: Given NASA's record is 55 days, at 40,000m (not km !) I'd suggest aiming for shorter flights to begin with...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science ... ecord.html
I wonder what size of budget a project like that runs with.
http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/balloons/
Given this quote
NASA’s scientific balloons can fly scientific payloads weighing up to 8,000 pounds for conducting scientific investigations in fields such as astrophysics, heliophysics and atmospheric research. The pumpkin-shaped SPB is made from 22 acres of material and is as large as a football stadium when fully inflated.
I'd think...lots of $.
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Re: Questions about High Altitude Balloon Flights

Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:11 pm

joan wrote:Wouldn't it be simpler just to attach a wire to the balloon.

It would solve all sorts of problems. The wire could be used to provide power and also to transmit control and receive telemetry. You could also determine the balloons 3D position by keeping track of how much wire had been paid out and measuring the angle from north and ground.

Of course it would have to be quite a fine wire for lightness. You could remove the insulation, which would save quite a bit of weight, as there would be nothing up in the sky to touch the wire. Safety is important. Perhaps flags and beacons could be attached every now and then to warn approaching aircraft.

Simples.
If you put the power up the wire, with no insulation, where does it get its earth (gnd) from ?

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