Firefly - Exploration with Arduino made easy
Firefly is an Arduino compatible system with onboard power, charging, data logging, and radio communications.
Your exploration begins now
A lot of space nerds speak longingly about the space program of yore. NASA made this huge leap to the moon, and if we can only get the country to rally like that again, then maybe we'll get that future in space we all imagined.
That might work.
Advances in technology have created another possible path to exploration of the Universe.
What if YOU could do real exploration yourself? On a small budget, with a small team.
Today, real science, engineering, and even space exploration is happening outside the walls of large organizations and facilities.
- We drove down the cost of exploration?
- Allowed ANY inventor to do big things?
- We made standardized systems with reusable, sharable code?
Start at step 10
All exploration projects seem to recreate the first several steps. From battery and charging systems, to data logging and communications, there are countless projects that make all of these systems from scratch.
If you were going to build the next killer web game, would you have your developers start by building their own laptops? Would they solder battery circuits together, and then make their own compiler?
Why do the same with your exploration project?
Skip steps 1 through 9. Start at step 10.
So what can you do with it?
Firefly is a flexible-use fully assembled board that can serve as the basis for the brains, fuel, and voice for many different applications including:
- high-altitude balloons
- suborbital flights
- a weather station
- robotics platform
- remote control home automation
- education and classrooms
With some planning and modifications you might even be able to use it for something out of this world.
Firefly is an Arduino with super powers
- Onboard radio communications
- Onboard Data Logging (micro SD card)
- Onboard Power and charging (through mini USB and barrel plugs)
- Arduino Shield compatible
- Use the power of the existing Arduino community and share code
Your money drives down the price
We need your help to make these cheaply so that many people can start projects on a tight budget. It's much cheaper to have 1000 made than 100.
Everyone who pledges $35 gets one of these super cool T-Shirts:
Get a "kickstart" (pun intended) on your exploration project.
One of the rewards is a ticket to a "Space hackers" workshop:
Firefly will be featured at the Cubesat Space Hackers Workshop Oct. 26 - 28 in San Jose, California. The event will be hosted by the Silicon Valley Space Center.
Learn from veterans of space exploration. The original do-it-yourself space pioneer and creator of the Cubesat, Bob Twiggs, will talk at the workshop about defining, designing and carrying out picosat-class missions in space. Most importantly, at the workshop conclusion you will learn how YOU can get to space. The creator of Firefly, former Kentucky Space embedded systems engineer Daniel Erb, will also be present at the San Jose workshop and lead sessions on the specific uses of Firefly.
Firefly Technical Details
- Main Processor: ATMEGA 328 - High performance, lower power Atmel® AVR® 8-bit Microcontroller
- Mini USB
- Push Button Reset Switch
- Barrel Plug for Solar Recharging
- 18650 LiPo battery carrier
- Analog I/O Pins: 6
- Digital I/O Pins: 14 (6 PWM)
- ON/OFF Switch
- Header Pins for Vbat, GND, 3.3V, & AREF
- Operating Voltage 3.3V
- Micro SD card slot for Data Logging
- Linx Technologies: LT Series transceiver module (433 Mhz) for wireless data transfer
Arduino / Shield Compatible
CubeSat Kit Compatible
Battery Powered: 1x 3.7V Li-Ion 2400 mAh
- Solar – A solar array may be attached FireFly through the barrel plug. Firefly incorporates diode protection to protect the battery from back-discharging through attached solar arrays when not in the sun. The open-circuit voltage of the solar array should be at least 4.2V to ensure a fully charged battery though lower voltages will work. An open-circuit voltage of 4.5-6V is recommended.
- Length (mm): 95.63 (inches): 3.765”
- Width (mm): 89.92 (inches): 3.540”
- Mass w/o Battery & Antenna (grams): 43.7
- Whip Antenna Mass (grams): 6.5
- Battery Mass (grams): 45
Who and when?
Firefly has been designed by the Cubesat experts at Kentucky Space and provided by Evadot. Originally designed for the first "Space Hackers" workshop in 2011, it quickly became apparent that a board like Firefly could be useful to a large number of people. Before Firefly, the average cost to start a proof of concept for a balloon or cubesat project was over a thousand dollars. Firefly is designed to disrupt that price barrier and help to standardize the first steps in a project.
Kentucky Space LLC is an ambitious, non-profit enterprise focused on R&D, educational, small entrepreneurial and commercial space solutions. Their focus is on areas such as communications, systems engineering, exomedicine research, and education. Kentucky Space has flown several free flying satellites as well as ISS payloads into space.
Highlights opportunities in the Space industry for organizations. Lead by Michael Doornbos, a hacker, author and speaker, Evadot is building the community around the Firefly platform and coordinating the software development.
How and when
We have about 6 functional prototypes painstakingly hand soldered and being used to develop code and get people excited. The final delivered product will be produced by a large American based board manufacturer and assembler who has the designs in place and parts lists prepared for production. We will begin production when the Kickstarter campaign is completed. We expect manufacturing to begin in late September of 2012.
- (30 days)