About this project
We're almost there...!
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.
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.
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:
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!
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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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