Hey guys! I'm a middle school science and technology teacher who is just getting introduced to the world of HAB flying. I've always been interested in doing this with my students, but have been having issues starting. I recently attended a US Raspberry Pi Picademy where the presenters spoke about their work with Skycademy, flying HABs in the UK using Raspberry Pis. I was disappointed to hear that they didn't have any US programs. I want to bring space closer for my science students and give them the ability to design high-altitude science experiments. For my computer science students, I already teach them Raspberry Pi and Arduino, and I think this would be an amazing use of their skills and a great project that also links them back to science. It would be a great collaboration project for these two classes giving them an experience similar to designing, building, and launching a satellite for experimental purposes.
I've been doing research into being able to create a HAB project as cheaply as possible because I'm almost certain that I will lose the first few payloads, the GPS units and subscriptions are too expensive for my salary (lol). I also wanted something that allowed me and my students to mess with Raspberry Pi or Arduino. There are very few resources for using Pis for HABs in the US though because of the different radio protocols (APRS vs UKHAS, right?). Here are my current goals:
- Get HAM radio license
- Build a primary tracking system using a Raspberry Pi (already have), U-Blox Neo 6M GPS module ($20), and a Dorji Transceiver ($15).
- Build a secondary locator using an Arduino (have tons of these), a GSM module ($10), and a Pharos GPS-500 (came with Microsoft Streets) I had lying around (It will just text me its GPS location when it lands in case the primary system doesn't work -- the Bay Area has pretty good cell coverage).
- Find free or cheap source of helium
- Figure out how to teach my students how to use sensors with Raspberry Pi and Arduino to build experimental payloads.
- Figure out the rest of it. LOL.
That's my vague plan cobbled together after a night of lazy research through various blogs and websites of creating a HAB that costs under $100 for both primary and secondary tracking systems and allows me and my students to tinker with Pi and Arduino. Could you guys identify any issues I might have with my plan?