We have been fairly quiet publicly, but many subsystems are coming to completion rapidly, including the helium gas overflow vent valve. Completion of anything flying on a ballon means it's time to do some science! Tests must be done, data must be noted, hypotheses checked. Gary Flispart and I put together a detailed technical video explanation of the vacuum leak test system we've made.
Here are some anaglyph photos of LVL1's White Star Balloon Team recent launch attempt of Speedball-1. You see LVL1 transformed into White Star Mission Control, balloon construction areas, unpacking Speedball-1 at the Spaceport Indiana launch site. ALL IN 3D! Courtesy of Gary!
As many on the google group know, Galen Powers and I drove a good buddy of mine, Robert Rollins to retrieve the package that was about 80 feet up in the tree. Robert owns the Louisville based business, Greenhaven Tree Care and is an arborist and expert tree climber.
Robert made it look easy, but it was a lot of work, and we appreciate all of his hard work and personal risk to get the package(s) out of the tree.
Galen took the time to document the event and put it in a slick video:
Also, thanks to Joe and Tim for finding it the first time and giving us clues to its location, and the folks from Bloomington Hackerspace for their attempts.
For the White Star Balloon project, one immediate need was for an extensible Main Flight Computer platform. In order to facilitate development, a completely modular design was needed.
In brief, this board uses the I2C bus to communicate with multiple slave modules and sensors in order to accomplish the task of managing our balloon's flight. More information can be found at our wiki.
To fabricate these PCBs, we chose Gold Phoenix, located in Hubei, China. They offer some really incredible deals on PCB manufacturing, including $100 for a 2-layer board, 155 Square Inches, 5 day turnaround + 3 days shipping. We chose this fabrication house since Sparkfun uses them for their own products, as well as BatchPCB services.