Airbox Solar One

Will be launched on April 7th, 2018

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Airbox Solar One will be our first solar balloon prototype. Its mission will study the availability of this type of balloon, reading information inner and outher side of the envelope. The second part of the experiment is the availability to send data via 2.4Ghz, at the moment one way.The third part  piggybacking a protosatellite transmitting an UHF beacon.

Vehicle

In 1972, Dominic Michaelis, a British architect and the inventor of many solar utilities and projects, invented and built the first solar balloon, with a clear external surface and dark, heat-catching internal walls.

Our solar balloon is 4 meters of diameter and weighs 300 grams. the payload is 80 grams. We expect it reaches 20000 meters.

The cost of materials was under 9€ but it takes more than 10 hours and three people to build it. Press here to know how we did it.

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Controller

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The Arduino Nano is a small board based on the ATmega328P.
Flash Memory 32 K of which 2 KB used by bootloader
SRAM 2 KB 
EEPROM  1 KB
Clock Speed 16 MHz
We use an input voltage of only 3.7 V that's why the real Speed is underclocked to 8 MHz

Sensors

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BMP180

The BMP180 high precision barometric pressure sensor has a measuring range between 0 and 1100 hPa.The theoretical error margin is only 0.03 hPa. The sensor has a power range between 1.8V and 3.6V. It is connected directly to the Atmel 328 through its I2C interface.

Mobirise

MLX90614 (Dismissed)

Is an infrared thermometer designed for non-contact temperature sensing. An internal 17-bit ADC and a powerful DSP contribute to the MLX90614’s high accuracy and resolution. It has a huge number of applications in our case we use it to read the temperature inside the envelope.

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DS18B20

Digital temperature sensor with a temperature range of
-55 ºC ~ 125ºC to read the outside air temperature.

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Ublox 6M GPS

The NEO-6 devices are a family of receivers manufactured by U-Blox. The NEO-6 has an UART communication interface and supports the NMEA, UBX binary and RTCM protocols.

Software

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At the moment we use a simple Python program to save Telemetry data on a file and the Operating System is Lubuntu.

Air Communications and Telemetry

F24L01P + PA + LNA Device is a long-distance data transmission specially developed high-power and high sensitivity wireless module 2.4G ISM band NRF24L01P + PA + LNA wireless module to work in the license-free, can be point-to-pointapplications.  Our Tests indicates 800 meters are achieved using the simple omnidirecional antenna as a transmitter and receptor.                           

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Ground Stations

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There are three different antennas prepared to read the Telemetry of the Balloon.

A Yagi antenna of theoretical 25Dbi.
A directional antenna of real test result of 24 DBi. The third is an experimental Parabolic antenna modified to receive 2.4 GHz.

We will see the results on March.  

Experiments

Our main experiment is to know what happens inside the balloon during the flight.

Solar Balloons are not a very common method to fly and there is few information about how they work and how they float depending on the inner temperature.

Having this information we can decide to continue or come back to He or H2 ones.                        

By Luftfahrer at the German language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=228612