White Star Trans-Atlantic SpeedBall Progress Update

We’ve been working very hard to keep all the parallel projects rolling in this massive project.  We’re doing pretty good so far.  The fund raising still needs lots of help – so please drop a few coins in our pledgie —>
The balloons will be ordered in early november, lovingly crafted to meet our desired float altitude and payload weight.  We’ll also be sending a string of sensors and a vent valve along to be incorporated during manufacture.
SpeedBall Flight computer v2 PCB is designed and ready to order, we’ve switched the row of module bus connectors to a more affordable style, and added the ability to cut off the power to the the sensors in the balloon.
Everything we want to put on the balloon needs to be tested at the ultra-cold temperatures that they will fly in.  That means we’ve been building a cryogenic test chamber, capable of holding -50C for three days.  It may need a little more insulation to cut down on the dry ice usage, but it finally broke through the -50C mark last night.
We’ll be cryo testing things like latex and silicone tubing, hinges, valve seals, batteries, and all the electronics.
The live tracking website for White Star is a daunting project in itself.  Thankfully, John Hicks and a few memebers of the Kentucky Open Source Society have volunteered to spearhead that mini-project.  It will be our primary information display of the balloon’s live status.  It should include all the telemetry that’s being sent down, and display some of it on a map, and maybe a few gauges.  For LVL1 mission control, it will provide crucial weather data, performance graphs, and an actual command uplink interface to the balloon.
We’ll be doing some detailed articles here about various aspects of the balloon system as time goes on, so look forward to in-depth info, coming soon.  Feel free to comment with questions that you’d like answered in-depth on the White Star Blog.

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