Hello all. We are ASHAB, ASturias High Altitude Ballooning, an amateur team from Asturias, north Spain.
We managed to fly our NS1 mission last saturday, June 11th, after several delays, so we are not entering the contest, but at this moment we don't care!, the mission was successful and we are very happy and excited, and can't wait to launch another one
As it was our first launch, we decided not to conduct any side experiments, and just test all the systems we designed for the mission, the flight computer, communications, and all the video and photo gear we added to the payload.
The NS1 (NearSpaceOne) capsule, is a CNC milled extruded polystyrene enclousure, covered with mylar, we are very happy with the design of the capsule, it looks really good:
Inside, the main flight computer, a Raspberry Pi A+, with a custom "hat" board and software, with a GPS, barometer, internal and external temperature sensors, analog to digital converter to monitor the battery, raspberry pi camera, and a custom circuit to communicate with the radio.
The communications system is run by an amateur radio walkie. We wanted to be tracked by radio amateurs, so we used the standard APRS message systems for our telemetry, and as a bonus we added SSTV picture sending from the raspberry pi camera.
So we sent APRS messages each 30 seconds, and SSTV pictures each 10 minutes. We developed a custom "dashboard" software to watch the telemetry, it looks like this:
On the payload we also had another four cameras, tree modified mobius HD cameras, recording horizontal and vertical video and still pictures, and a Ricoh Theta 360 degree camera. The mobius cameras were modified to use external batteries for improved recording time, and the 360 camera was recording 360 spherical still pictures each several seconds.
We launched around 12:00, we had the burst 2 hours and 34 minutes later, and touchdown around 40 minutes after burst, but the touchdown site was obscured by some hills, so we lost the radio link and had a hard time recovering the payload, we spent three hours searching, but at the end we recovered radio signal and we found the payload in the middle of a forest in a valley.
We had a stupid mistake, we forgot to configure the GPS on flight mode, so we had a GPS altitude lock at 12000m and after that the altitude reading was always the same. The thing is we had the barometer, so using the minimum barometric pressure (9mbar) and the air temperature at that point, we can calculate that we reached around 32000m and looking at the pictures, that figure seems right:
You can watch several (recorded) live videos at our youtube channel:
A small video of the ballon burst here (we are still editing gigabytes and gigabytes of video!):
And a work in progress 360 degree picture gallery:http://ashab.space/ns1-360/
If you are interested you can have a look at our webpage http://ashab.space and at our wiki with all the technical information http://wiki.ashab.space (sorry spanish only!).
Thank you GSBC and all the people in the forums, we learnt a lot and as said before, we can't wait to launch again.