Seven 5th formers (Year 10) took part in this event, the Asgard programme, run by the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, the European Space Education Resource Office and St Peter’s College (Jette), sending scientific instruments 30km above the earth’s surface, past the troposphere and into the stratosphere, on a payload hung from a hydrogen balloon.
Zain Osmani (dosimeters), Raphael Taylor-Davies (EEPROMs and programming), Pranav Prabhu (electronics and PR), Anand Sharma (PR and fabrication), Adi George (electronics), Haaris Rahim and Daniel Mobayyen (data handling) built and modified the electronics and code for accelerometers, compasses, EEPROMs and dosimeters, with the help of 8th former Jamie Balcombe, Dr Stephen Patterson, Rhodri Oliver (student, Imperial College) and Dr James Perkins.
The programme allows students from European schools to send instruments up to heights higher than commercial airplanes venture, gaining experience in building and testing instruments to operate in such harsh conditions. The task of building posed difficulties at first and challenged the team, but hard work over several days throughout Easter and the two bank holiday weekends meant that, in the end, almost all experiments functioned correctly and completely.
The balloon’s journey suffered from quite a few unexpected changes of plan, with the balloon satellite landing safely but being picked up by an amateur radio enthusiast over 100km away from our team. The process of extracting the data from the experiments and correlating them to expected locations and readings is now underway.
Only the accelerometer and dosimeters were included this launch; the camera and ionisation chamber will fly on a future balloon.Follow the project on the sps2011balloonsat wiki.