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  • CrawSat III – Cold Test Success!

    Well its been less then twenty four hours since our finals ended, and already members of the CrawSat III team and Launch Personnel team are back to work on the balloon preparing for the launch on December 18th, 2010.

    Today we performed the second Cold Test, with improvements to testing procedures to account for lack of circulation of cold air through the Thermovac chamber. With the additions of a fan and dehydrator to the chamber, we were successfully able to circulate cold air throughout the chamber, and verify the electronics are well insulated and ready to handle the cold wrath of the jet stream on flight day, thanks to the Mechanical Team!

    We have uploaded photos from today’s test to the CAPE Gallery.

    – The team monitoring the Thermovac during the cold test.

    – The dehydrator attached to thermovac.

    – Display of data from the ground station received from the package.

    All photos can be found here.

    Also in addition, heres a little fun tidbit. Using some nifty weather balloon flight prediction software, we have predicted the balloon to land on the levee south of I-10, here.

    Expect some post through out the week with new predictions as we get closer to launch day and more updates!

  • CrawSat 3 – Almost There….

    Well its been a while since the last time we gave a status update on the CrawSat 3 development, formerly called Balloon 3, and i’m pretty excited to say we’ve made a lot of progress!

    First off, after many long hours in the lab (and some very stressful late nights), I can happily say the code integration is finally showing some great progress. Currently our code is capable of the following:

    – displaying gps data (coordinates, altitude, time, and number of satellites connected)
    – real time clock (used to keep a running tally on the duration of the flight)
    – watch dog time (incase something begins locking up power can be reset, hopefully it won’t be needed!)
    – displaying internal and external temperatures to the balloon package
    – giving pressure readings
    – giving voltage readings on our batteries.
    – three cameras able to take up to 20 photos per camera by command from ground (indivisually and all together)
    – comm able to transmit successful beacons to ground and receive commands to set a new interval for the beacon to be sent down (choices being 15, 10 and 5 seconds)

    (Photo of Ethan working on the camera code)

    We’re still working on the integration of a current reading from the onboard fuel gauge, sending commands from ground to trigger a cut down mechanism and another to toggle a siren, and final testing of the cameras. Hoping to get that going soon.

    Secondly the structure that will house the electronics is pretty much ready for flight day, minus the final sealing. Below are some photos of the structure:

    The structure before being populated,

    and after of the entire package. On top you can see a siren and switch to power the electronics.

    A close up on our power switch, i’m actually pretty excited that theres a cover for the switch, kind of like in those movies where theres a switch or button behind a glass box. :-)

    Close up on the siren mounted on the top of the structure.

    View of the inside. Pictured: a placeholder board while the actual board is being used for testing, two of the three cameras secured in their slots aimed out holes fashioned on the side of the box sealed by Plexiglas.

    One of the battery holders inside the box.

    and here we have the board itself, with the gps unit on the side.

    The three cameras outside being tested during the integration process, photos from the test below:

    this is a photo we took of one of the CAPE-1 models in the lab from one of the cameras during testing.

    Another photo of Casey one of the coders of the GPS subsystem.

    and one more of myself, and Chase in the background.

    The next photo is actually a compilation of 9 or 10 photos taken by a camera inside the structure to test how the photos looked from behind Plexiglas as the box slowly fell from the table….don’t worry everything is still ok. Nothing broke!

    the quality of the photos behind the Plexiglas doesn’t seem too bad.

    After this is all done, we’ll be entering an intensive testing period to ensure everything works fine. Launch Date hasn’t been decided yet, as a time table for the testing period hasn’t been determined just yet. So keep an eye out for an update with a launch date and more updates!