News and Blogs
A look at recent events and member projects
Mark your calendars! Denver’s Maker Faire will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 14-15, at the DenverMart on 58th Avenue near I-25. Maker Faires are events where creative and curious people gather to share what they are working on and learn from each other.
A few of the activities going on this year at the Faire are SparkFun’s AVC and Combat Bot competition, Build-Your-Own Drone workshop, and a Boulder U-Fix-It Clinic hands-on lamp repair workshop.
SSD will have a table at the event and is looking for projects to display and people to help set-up, clean-up and man the booth during the event. If you would like to volunteer for a shift and show off a project at our table (volunteers for 4-hour shifts get free admission), sign up here and/or reach out to Jennifer or Andrew at one of our open houses.
See https://denver.makerfaire.com/ for full details about this year’s Maker Faire!
This blog post contains images from the balloon taken by two of the three Raspberry Pi Zero cameras on-board. Unfortunately the third suffered catastrophic data loss (probably upon landing) and everything on its SD-card was lost. One of the Pi cameras faced outward from the side of the payload and the other at about a 30° angle off of straight down.
The balloon was kitted out with cameras, sensors and way-finding equipment. After being aloft for about 3.5 hours, the increasing altitude contributed to the balloon’s anticipated popping and rapid fall back to earth. It traveled around 100 miles, capturing video and photos before, during and after the eclipse.
This project page from our Wiki, prepared pre-launch, contains a wealth of details about the endeavor, including specs of the equipment, testing needs, and compliance considerations leading up to the launch. Member Dan Julio also posted about the project on Hackaday.
The balloon crew included SSD members Brandon Skari, Dan Julio, Tim Pegg, Andrew Bigoney, Specter, Rob Bryan, Sarah Gjestvang, along with additional crewmembers Kate, Bob, Tessa, Jason, and Sarah’s family.
A remote launch site surrounded by land with considerable public access to make recovery easier was carefully researched prior to the launch, though modified after reviewing different wind forecasts. The crew gradually assembled starting Friday night through Sunday, traveling from Boulder to an area about 10 miles ESE of Shoshoni Wyoming. The group split into three teams: a launch team, a recovery team and a remote telemetry receiver in Casper.
Most team members were on the launch team, who released the balloon at about 10:30 am. The initial climb rate of 2.5 m/s was a bit slower than expected and meant that the balloon was ultimately aloft for longer than initially anticipated.
The balloon traveled almost due east, eventually succumbing to the effects of partial vacuum about 20 miles north of Casper after reaching a maximum altitude of over 90,000 feet! At that point the balloon burst, and it and its payload quickly fell to earth. The recovery team, consisting of Kate, Bob, Sarah and her family, found out that the payload had landed on a private ranch. The balloon was found in about 5 hours near the last LoRa telemetry message.
In 360-degree video footage captured aloft during the event, a noticeable shadow can be seen visibly encroaching from the west over the land below. A few minutes later, totality arrived at approximately 11:39 AM. The darkened sky showed stars and the solar corona. The balloon’s cameras continued filming along its eastward trek for almost another hour before the balloon burst.