Come one and all to see SpeedBall at MakerFaire Detroit

Take it to Detroit!  LVL1 Hackerspace’s White Star Balloon team is going to be showing off theMakerFaire Detroit Logo 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.

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