Hello, it's PWr Aerospace, group of space hungry students from Wroclaw, Poland
After the success of our previous HAB flight described here, we decided to go full ridiculous and send a smartphone into the edge of space! However, after some time, analysis and design this idea stopped being ridiculous, it became brilliant!
Smartphone is basically a mini computer that has everything what's needed for a high altitude flight - sensors, processor, data storage, GPS, camera, battery and more. You see where is it comming?
We have designed a whole system that converts a regular off the shelf phone into HAB controller that registers flight data, takes pictures and allows communication with team on the ground. Possibilities the phone provides can be further expanded using other components we also designed, like data unit based on Arduino that collects data that phone sensors cannot provide, or radio that transmits the phone location using APRS.
That's the basic idea. We have tested it by sending it to the edge of space on 21 of April. Our phone has reached 26 682 meters altitude and took 2409 photos. The phone was not damaged in any way despite extreme conditions it was under. On board we had also an action camera that captured 152 minutes of video, covering start, burst, landing and payload pickup.
We have identified a few issues that are under investigation and after fixes we will release all our resources as open source for the community to use and improve.
You can find more detailed information about the system design and results of the first flight right here: http://docdro.id/f0SLzXp
The weather during flight was beautiful, one may say even too beautiful, as we did not capture a single cloud, making all our photos kinda dull and boring You can watch the video of the flight here.
If you look closely, you can see a plane flying below our balloon
Seconds before burst...
And second after burst
It was a great fun and we hope our efforts will help other people with their HAB missions. We have many ideas how to improve our system and what we can add to it, but feel free to add your suggestions Together with opening the source, we will provide a roadmap of what's more to add to the system
PWr Aerospace team