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Not just another balloon launch, HEARTSAT will analyze the composition of Earth's atmosphere while utilizing a unique flight vehicle.
Not just another balloon launch, HEARTSAT will analyze the composition of Earth's atmosphere while utilizing a unique flight vehicle.
170 backers pledged $3,751 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

HEARTSAT: A Scientifically Rewarding Journey to Near Space project video thumbnail
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$3,751

170

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STRETCH GOAL #3: A second copy of the flight vehicle and computer. In the unlikely event the vehicle is lost, a fully-functional backup will be available and include a copy of the flight computer and atmospheric sensors to ensure that data is captured. In addition, both flight computer PCBs will be professionally manufactured with schematics and a parts list made available to all backers. $4000 goal - Funding needed!

STRETCH GOAL #2: Slow-scan television (SSTV) signal live during flight. You'll see pictures from near space close to real-time! - $3000 goal - Funding reached!

STRETCH GOAL #1: Open-source spectrometer and integration: costs include spectrometer, overseas shipping costs, and additional electronics necessary to integrate it with the other flight electronics. - $2500 goal - Funding reached!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a UFO! No, it's HEARTSAT.

Though the acronym  "High Elevation Atmospheric Research Tool SATellite," is a mouthful, the project is quite elegant. The project is easily separated into three sections, as shown below:

The Flight Vehicle

The flight vehicle is the key to the HEARTSAT mission. It’s flight characteristics and design are the result of research this past summer at the University of New Hampshire, which I was involved in. This open-top design utilizes no parachute yet maintains a stable ascent and descent back to Earth. Experiment room is abundant, both inside insulated areas and exposed areas for a plethora of gas sensors, spectrometers, or almost anything imaginable.

Sensing Electronics

The primary mission of HEARTSAT is to analyze radiation and prevalent gasses of the troposphere and stratosphere. It will utilize a completely custom electronics system designed and built from the ground up. If the project is successfully funded, you are ensuring it flies with top notch sensors that will provide truly meaningful scientific data. You are helping to acquire:

  • A Geiger–Müller counter
  • Carbon dioxide gas sensor
  • Methane gas sensor
  • Barometric pressure sensors
  • An open-source spectrometer
  • Two HD cameras to record the flight

Using a scalable electronics platform, I will take advantage of additional sensing opportunities if funding exceeds the initial goal. All data will be recorded to flash memory and retrieved after flight, at which time the raw data file will be available online for anyone to use in their research, or just for fun.

Tracking and Recovery System

Since high altitude balloon payloads can travel hundreds of miles laterally, HEARTSAT will contain a 2x redundant satellite tracking system. Instead of relying on line-of-sight communication through amateur radio, the primary tracking system will first acquire a GPS fix and then transmit it’s location through the Globalstar satellite network, which works virtually everywhere. A near-live position will be available to the HEARTSAT recovery team, and available online for you to monitor as the flight takes place. 

Proven to work already.

The prototype version of the HEARTSAT vehicle after successfully landing, sans parachute.
The prototype version of the HEARTSAT vehicle after successfully landing, sans parachute.

HEARTSAT is not just a sketch, an idea, or a concept. It is reality. On July 23rd, 2012, I helped launch the SMARTSAT with two peers and mentors from the University of New Hampshire. We showed that it was possible to return a high altitude balloon vehicle to Earth with no parachute and that the flight electronics were functional. It was a beautiful proof of concept. In fact, we were quite noticed by news sources, including:

... and many more!

This is where you come in.

I'm a student entering my senior year of high school, where the project will be overseen by my science teachers and my parents. Though I was a part of the team that launched the "SMARTSAT" prototype to near space, I am working on the HEARTSAT independently. I no longer have access to university-level funding or facilities. That's alright though, because I will demonstrate that space is truly within the reach of anyone in 2012, with the support of Kickstarter!

Some of the necessary supplies to make this project possible are already in my possession, or have been pledged already, such as the helium tanks and satellite trackers. Your support will pay for costly items that are required for HEARTSAT's launch including the electronics such as printed circuit boards, sensors, and microprocessors. In return, you can expect some very unique rewards you wont find elsewhere on Kickstarter.

Physical rewards will be delivered no later than November, depending on the chosen launch date. We will contact you ahead of the launch to customize rewards that will be launched to near space, if applicable.

International backers, it is appreciated if you add $10 to your contribution for increased shipping costs.

Let's go to near space!

"Like" us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to follow our progress!

FAQ

  • The still photographs, video footage, and raw sensor data will be made available to everyone via Kickstarter and our website, http://www.heartsat.com. We encourage others to use the data recorded from the mission in their research, or just for fun. No restrictions on any data will be placed other than a simple request for attribution to the project.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name will be included on the flight manifest that will be launched to near space, and you will receive a neat 5" mission sticker.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    You will receive the above reward, plus a limited edition 5x7 print of a photograph taken at any time or altitude you request.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A tweet to space! You will receive the above rewards, plus the opportunity to include a 140 character message permanently affixed to the flight vehicle that will be flown to near space. Makes a great gift.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Your name will be included on the flight manifest flown aboard the satellite, you will receive two 5" mission stickers, a limited edition 5x7 still photograph from any time during the flight, a "tweet" (see above reward) to space, PLUS a unique postcard that has flown aboard the HEARTSAT vehicle to near space!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    An aspiring astronaut! Your name will be included on the flight manifest. You will receive two 5" mission stickers, two limited edition 5x7 still photographs from any time during the flight, PLUS a large 5" x 4" section on the flight vehicle to include a small photo and message of your choice to be flown to near space.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A piece of the puzzle! You will receive the above reward plus an actual piece of the vehicle after it has flown to near space. It may be a shred of the balloon, a piece of insulation foam, or something else. You'll be surprised!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You will receive the $100 level reward, plus a hand-written and signed thank you note, but not before the note is flown to the edge of space aboard HEARTSAT. In addition, you'll receive a short phone call via satellite from our rural launch location after we launch the payload. You will be the first to know the moment your backed project has begun it's ascent to near space!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You love science, don't you? You will not only receive the standard reward including stickers and unique photographic prints, but you will also receive something special. I will work with you to include your name, brand, or picture in large format on the HEARTSAT vehicle to be flown to near space. In addition, you will receive a one-of-a-kind 16x20" poster with a photograph taken at an altitude of your choice. Plus, I'll call you on launch day to update you on the project's launch and landing, making you one of the first to know of its success!

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $700 or more About $700

    You're an astronaut! Kind of. You are truly a supporter of our project and will be eternally remembered. You will receive a limited-edition kit and be among the first in the world to build a vehicle just like ours. Included in this nice big box you will find all the parts to build the vehicle-portion of the HEARTSAT project. To see what else is included, see our project update.

    You will need to provide your own balloon, helium, and decide what you want to include in your payload, such as a phone to track it as it soars to the edge of space. If you have questions, please contact us through Kickstarter before pledging.

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Funding period

- (30 days)