Take it to Detroit! LVL1 Hackerspace’s White Star Balloon team is going to be showing off the SpeedBall balloon system at MakerFaire Detroit, July 30 & 31 at The Henry Ford museum. We’re super excited to be a part of this great exhibition of doers and makers!
We’ll have the full SpeedBall-1 Trans-Atlantic robot payload (and possibly the balloon) on static display for you to get an up-close peek at what it takes to make a 3-day airship tick.
SpeedBall-2 is slated to make it’s public flight debut at the MakerFaire, (sorry SB-1!) as a lean-mean indoor flying machine. It’ll be stripped down to the bare necessities required to control it’s altitude – arguably the most important innovation of the whole program. Consisting of the classic SNOX Ballast bottle, the Flight Computer, the Comm Controller, and the Ballast Controller, the load frame and a small 12v pack of AA batteries, SB-2 will hang from a small custom plastic balloon.
Guided by a vertical cable to keep it from wandering around the museum, SB-2’s balloon it will have a calibrated leak, causing it to slowly sink down, a high-speed simulation of helium loss over a 3-day air voyage. This will allow you to see the prowess of the ballast system and control algorithm, as it manages ascents, descents, and altitude holds, fully autonomously – look ma, no wires!
We’re working now on putting it all together and testing the demo setup at the LVL1 Hackerspace. Follow our Twitter @LVL1WhiteStar for up-to-the-minute progress updates.