T.H.A.N.O.S

Transmitter works. Payload is built. Parachute and balloon purchased. Ready for final testing with a possible mid-2020 launch.

What is it

“Terrestrial High Altitude Nautical On-Sight”, my first attempt at a near-space high altitude balloon.

Current Capability

Radio transmitter sending GPS location via the APRS network.
GoPro camera for recording video to burst altitude.
Internal shelving insert structure for easy packaging of launch day payload.

Challenges

In principal, this is an easy project. Attach a cheap cooler to a weather balloon and let it go.
But there are a number of issues you quickly discover.
- Living in the DC region means a lot of restricted airspace to think about. - High Altitude weather patterns can drastically affect when and where you can launch. - The best and cheapest way of tracking the payload requires a HAM radio license.

Most of these challenges have been met. Myself and another teammate got our HAM radio licenses.
We’ve built and tested a working APRS transmitter.
We’ve done a lot of research on launch locations, times, etc. Just need to wait for better high altitude winds for a better weekend launch (Summer 2020?) Then do a final “dress rehearsal” before launch date.

Abandoned Ideas

None so far. We’ve kept the project rather MVP.
Goal is the track and recover the payload. Camera and altimeter on board to capture images from burst altitude (and to know how hight that was). That’s it for this first launch.

Inspiration

Always wanted to “send something to space”

Research

  • Backup to APRS

    • “android deep sleep mode app”
  • Other projects

    • spaceblimp hacdc google group operating out of Rockville maker lab
  • Launch Prep

Edward Romano Written by:

I dabble in, and occasionally obsess over, technology and problems that bug me