FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 6, 2011
SYKESVILLE, MD -- by Pat Kilroy -- We are about to set the dates for this Summer of 2011 and announce two flights. The first mission will feature a PICetSat I or II expendable module to re-evaluate a few things from last October's flight. The second mission will feature a real-time video experiment, with the payload development being led by Tom Capon AB3LN, and, to assist in the ground station antenna pointing, an APRS payload. We are looking forward to getting one or two full-time undergrad university student interns for ten weeks starting in early June to help make things happen. (Electrical Engineering majors: apply for next year here for the SimSat R&D project.)
See below for our previous announcement information. The new announcement will appear similar to that below.
Check back later for further news. Please plan to join us!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, November 6, 2010
WESTMINSTER, MD -- by Pat Kilroy -- The high drama of the balloon lift experiments and the ear-splitting interference on the downlink frequency competed ferociously to scrub our flight, but hard work and perseverance paid off. Big time! Not only did we achieve most of our mission objectives, not only did we soar to near space well above and beyond our goal altitude, but we set 1st Place national records in two payload categories as well.
We have great stories to tell!
So, we will hold a "CarrollSat-2 Debrief and Lessons Learned Meeting" soon and you are invited. Mark your calendar for Saturday afternoon, November 20, 2010 starting at 2:00 P.M. in Carroll County at the Eldersburg Public Library conference room. Free public Wi-Fi. All are invited to attend.
This is a chance to tell your story, what you saw, what you learned, what what can be improved and how. You are encouraged to share your information on slides, in photos, documents and/or spreadsheets in Microsoft Office v.2003 or Open Office v3.2 formats. A laptop & projector will be available. Sharing electronic copies is encouraged. Please CONTACT ME IN ADVANCE if you wish to present. Thank you.
Importantly, we will also start planning for our next flight.
[Update 5/6/11] A CarrollSat-2 Results Page never materialized. "You had to be there" at the debrief. (Many wonderful surprises unfolded, including WE RECOVERED THE PAYLOAD INTACT from a gentleman walking his dog in a park at the edge of the river or bay in old towne New Castle, Delaware.) We may or may not post some plots and data from the CarrollSat-2 mission later. But don't fret. We will re-validate some of that data on the Summer 2011 flights. Be there!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 11, 2010
WESTMINSTER, MD -- by Pat Kilroy -- A new mission! A test flight. We will launch a PICetSat module to near-space from the next Mason-Dixon Hamfest & Computer Show, on Sunday, October 24, 2010. Last year we were pleasantly surprised by the loudness of the signal, the longevity of the flight and the robustness of the flight hardware. This time around we tweaked a few things and will attempt a re-flight. A new experiment. Come see!
See the Pre-Flight Facts and other information below. You don't have to read everything, just what fascinates you at the moment.
Do you know a middle school or high school student who might enjoy this geeky cool stuff? Or a teacher? Tell them, e-mail them or Facebook 'em. Thanks!
If you have a question then please feel free to ask. See the contact info below.
I think work should be about making things work. Better. Faster. Smaller. Smarter. So I build bridges between what's known and what's not. I tinker. I toil. I write poetically in an abundance of languages (including code). I hack. I dissect. I have an insatiable desire to un-complicate the complicated. I am easily inspired. I believe that just because it hasn't been thought of doesn't mean it won't be. Potential is my thrill ride. Imagination is my most-used tool. I am a Maker, and I am what moves the world forward.If any of this describes you, then you MUST be with us!
Once you copy the telemetry from Morse Code you will need our two lookup tables. One will help you to convert the T Code measurement to temperature. The other will help you to convert the P Code measurement to pressure or directly to altitude. The Microsoft Excel charts are provided as an example of what you can do to better understand the relationships.
The numbers in each telemetry frame are coded to represent the time (MET or TOD via the frame F Code number), battery temperature (via the T Code number or "count"), and altitude (via the pressure P Code number or count). To get the actual temperature in degrees C and altitude in feet, compare the T and P Codes within the respective lookup table.
The temperature calibration data was obtained by setting a temperature in a chamber and then recording the T Code number or "count" that the CarrollSat-2 module produced, days before the flight.
If you are located within about 200 miles of Baltimore, Md. then chances are good that you will receive the UHF wireless signals from our high-altitude balloon experiment directly.
Please send your CarrollSat-2 flight reception reports to Pat Kilroy, N8PK, at the e-mail address below within two weeks after the flight. (Please make sure that each telemetry frame is time stamped in local or UTC time, accurate to within 30 seconds or better.)
How accurate is your time?
FLIGHT TRAJECTORY PREDICTIONSee below for our balloon path forecast (courtesy EOSS.org and NearSpaceVentures.com)
We changed a number of features from last year's CarrollSat-1 flight. Regarding the flight prime unit:
1. We have a custom printed circuit board (PCB) designed for higher reliability and a better RF match between the transmitter chip and the antenna port. Will we notice a stronger signal for a longer period of time through the flight?
2. Sensor calibration. We calibrated for temperature and altitude before the flight. This will give us believeable realtime flight information. How well can you perform the conversions to usable numbers?
3. Flight feedline and antenna. We improved the antenna. Or at least we think we did. In-flight signal reports will tell.
4. Battery capacity increased. Voltage is regulated. Better data? Will the module operate continuously through the flight, including at the coldest temperatures?
5. Thermal protection and stress relief. We think we have a little better protection from the bone-chilling cold upper atmosphere, at least during ascent. Again, continuous operation?
6. Recovery & descent scheme. Added recovery card and streamer. Will the payload be found and returned?
7. Splash down. If CarrollSat-2 lands on water it will float well.
8. Modulation scheme is understood a little better. Switch between the AM and FM modes while listening, if you can, and compare. Which sounds better?
9. Ground station (ADP). We are using CwGet to read and store the Morse Code telemetry. How well does it work?
10. ALSO: What is the balloon ascent rate? Does it rise at a constant rate? Or does it vary by altitude? This info is important to improve the tracking of the balloon, both real time and in advanced predictions.
EXTRA CREDIT. Where will it go, and how do we know?
And other experiments as we need, or think up as we go along.
|Net Control Station (NCS)||GARY CHATTERS, WA9ZZZ|
|Range Safety Officer||BRUCE THOMAN, WB3HAM|
|Balloon Train Ops||MATT SMITH, AB3JU|
|Remote Ground Stations||STU BENNER, W3STU|
|MARCO MIDON, N5ACR|
|RON TASSI, N3AEA|
|Portable Ground Stations||STEVE BECKMAN, N3SB|
|Mobile Ground Stations||TOM CAPON, AB3LN|
|Down Range Support||open|
|Trajectory Predictions||MICHAEL CHESNES, KB3UZS|
|CarrollSat-2 Data Manager||open|
|Publicity||CURT MILTON, WB8YYY|
|HUGH O'DONNELL, W3FUO|
|Launch Site Support||FRED MINETTO, KB3PEE|
|SERGIO SIGNORINI, KB3UYY|
|PICetSat Developers||STEVE BECKMAN, N3SB|
|RICH MITCHELL, N3III|
|PAT KILROY, N8PK|
|GLENN BOCK, N3USP|
We will hold a CarrollSat-2 Debrief and Lessons Learned Meeting about a month or so later. Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 20, 2010, at 2-4 P.M. in Carroll County at the Eldersburg Public Library conference room. All participants are invited to attend. [COMPLETED on time.]
This is a chance to tell your story, what you saw, what you learned, what what can be improved and how. And to plan for our next adventure. Please share your information on slides, photos/videos, documents and/or spreadsheets in Microsoft Office v.2003 or Open Office v3.2 formats. A laptop & projector will be available. Sharing electronic copies is encouraged. Thank you.
The general public will be welcomed once the presenters, team participants, next flight participants and teachers are seated. An e-mail RSVP and receipt is suggested.
Mr. Pat Kilroy
Flight Systems I&T Engineer/Manager
SimSat Principal Investigator
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
o Learn about Amateur Radio (ARRL), Amateur Satellites (AMSAT) and engineering & technology in space (NASA).
o Visit the national balloon announcement web page. Our fellow groups.
o Perhaps you will see this, or one of our future, PICetSat modules nudge itself into the ARHAB records page?
o See also Bob Bruninga's tutorial on the Radio Direction Finding (RDF) FADE-CIRCLE TECHNIQUE, as shown to be such a success on his valuable participation on a CricketSat flight and the SimSat-3 mission.
IF YOU FIND an Amateur Radio High-Altitude Balloon (ARHAB) like a CarrollSat, or what might be one, then please wait before disturbing it so that photo-documentation and post-flight processing may be completed by the operators. Please call the phone number on the recovery tag (301-286-1984) immediately. Thank you!
©2010 Pat Kilroy
This is Version 1.07.2
Last Modified: May 6, 2011