When this project first launched on Kickstarter, I had discussed that additional exciting opportunities would become available in the event we exceeded our initial goal of $1,900. As of yesterday, those opportunities will now be taken advantage of. The first stretch funding goal - including an open source spectrometer - has already been met.
I am excited to have a relatively large number of backers for an independent project like HEARTSAT. Now I want you, the backers, to decide what HEARTSAT will accomplish in addition to our first stretch goal. The unique shape and characteristics of the flight frame allow for scalability, both laterally, and by stacking equipment and instruments.
Possible stretch funding goal #2 opportunities
Controlled descent - I'll engineer an electronically-steerable control surface that will attempt to stabilize the ascent and descent. It will be a large challenge, but would likely be the first time anything like it has been done before.
Slow-scan television broadcast (SSTV) - Using the amateur radio bands, I will integrate a low-resolution camera and broadcast a television station from the balloon while it's ascending to altitude! Not a typical TV broadcast, an SSTV broadcast would send back a still frame every few minutes to our chase vehicle. Upon receiving each image, it would be uploaded instantly for followers on Kickstarter, Facebook, and Twitter to see as the mission unfolds. Are you a HAM operator in the New England area? We'll give you the frequencies and decoding instructions so you can see it first-hand. (Here's a great example of an SSTV broadcast from the International Space Station.)
It's up to you!
The two ideas above are great candidates to utilize additional space on the HEARTSAT flight frame. Which one are you in favor of? Is there something completely different that you want to see happen? Leave a comment on this post or send a message. I'm eager to hear your thoughts.