The Icarus Project

The Icarus Project

High Altitude Ballooning

World record altitude attempt

Launched Icarus II on its 5th mission to make an attempt for an altitude world record, sponsored by The Sun Newspaper as part of their 40th Anniversary celebrations.  Unfortunately this attempt was unsuccessful due to extremely strong winds causing the balloon to burst early though some good pictures and video were recovered. The landing was… (read more)

Welcome …

May 2009 26 May : Did duration test on on camera. 8 pics and 2min video every 5 mins = 8 hrs Sorting out payload cut-down using smokeless powder Alliant 2330  (Nitro Cellulose based). 24 May : Did a successful launch with Steve Randall (AKA Rocket Boy). Testing the new distributed listener client. Things to… (read more)

Updated camera firmware

Have found a new variant of CHDK called StereoData Maker (SDM). This is a light weight version of CHDK and it supports Kite Aerial Photography(KAP). Using this I can control the camera to run scripts by varying the length of the power pulse I send down the USB cable. NB The monitor is only accurate… (read more)

Humidity sensors and prototyping

Building prototype from schematic to test that all the additional connections are possible and that the system can be made to work before sending the BRD file off for PCB fabrication. To calibrate humidity sensor I am going to use a salt bath made from the anhydrous form of the salts below. Copper Sulphate CuS04… (read more)

Icarus III

Designing New Icarus III Board which will use the ATmega328p micro processor made popular by the Arduino boards. The new board will have the following features:- New features not found on Icarus II are marked with an * RTTY TX using RadioMetrix Lassen iQ GPS UART Debug Info Programming pins for serial programming Lessen GPS… (read more)

Surface mount components & SVN

Pretty much there now on Icarus III. Moved to surface mount components rather than push through hole. This will help reduce the size of the board. The additional space being needed for the additional sensors and circuits mentioned below. Modified the primary data structure to use floats rather than strings to store the numeric values… (read more)

Tethered Launch

Today was the perfect day for a tethered test launch with a wind speeds of about 0.1 knot. I Got all the kit assembled with the new radio beacon working fine and sending out Morse signals of GPS coordinates. Inflated balloon (see pictures below) and attached payload. The tether was made from three kite strings… (read more)

Helium and Transmitters

Managed to set up an account with BOC and ordered a large L size cylinder of balloon gas. This came with a balloon filler attachment which, although adequate, would benefit from having an extension hose attached to allow the filling to occur away from the cylinder. I will try to track a 3 meter low… (read more)

Programmers, Timers and Temperature Sensors

Well we are only half way through the month and I have been quite productive. It started with a battle to program the Atmega32 development board. The first programmer I brought was from the same company that supplied the board. However I failed to notice that the programmer was only supported in BASCOM and I… (read more)