Hello, my name is David Pello and I'm from Asturias, North Spain.

I work at LABoral arts and industrial creation centre as the manager of the production centre and labs, and will be the one in charge of the Asturias FabLAB (opening soon).

My idea for my final project is the design, construction and programming of an open source platform for high altitude balloon tracking, including structure (support, thermal isolation, etc), and electronics (MCU, radio transmission, gps, sensors, etc).

Classes > Applications and Implications

As stated, my final project will be a complete system for high altitude experiments. My goal is to develop all the subsystems needed to send an experiment into the stratosphere, send data back to ground, and track the probe to it's landing place to recover it.

This has been done a lot of times before, of course, both by professional scientists and also by amateurs, with a lot of documentation to base my project on. But my idea es to develop most of the structural parts and electronics using the fablab tools and technics, and also to publish all the designs, documentation and data as opensource, to share all the knowledge and possibly inspire other people to do the same.

I want to keep costs as low as possible, taking into account that some of the needed components are not cheap, but using low cost electronics and self made components, I think I'll be able to send a probe for less than 300$ including the balloon and helium.

The main parts of the project will be the structure, fabbed using the milling machine and laser cutter, and the electronics, also fabbable. Then the flight software needs to be developed to gather data from the experiments and send the telemetry back to gorund so it can be tracked. Some ready-made modules will also be used, as the GPS or the GPRS modules, but I'll try to keep that to a minimum.

A lot of tests need to be made before making the final (real flight) test, structural tests (stress, impact, parachute deployment, landing), and communication and autonomy tests (telemetry, batteries, etc). After that, a real test will take place, sending the probe to up to 38km high to gather basic data (temperature and pressure) and record a video of the flight. A ground team will be following the probe, recording the data and if everything goes right, recovering it after landing.

Then, all the data and media from the mission will be published online with open licenses for everyone to use it.