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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Payload nearly complete!

My payload is coming together nicely! I am posting several photos so everyone can see what it looks like and how things are moving along. Most amateur near-space balloons have a problem with spinning, which I hope to avoid by designing the payload differently. Fins are on three sides of the payload, and I am also going to attach the payload to the balloon with 2-4 strings instead of 1. With only one string, the payload swings around until tension builds up and it then rotates the opposite direction until the tension builds up yet again and the process repeats itself for the entire flight. While I have yet to attach my payload to a balloon for testing, I've kept this in mind and think having 2 or more attachments will limit the amount of spinning so that it will only spin when the balloon does. Additionally, a hole was added to the bottom of the payload to take a video of the first hour of ascent. I'm trying to add another camera so it will have three but two may have to suffice. My A480 has not yet been ported for CHDK and as such can only take a one hour video at this time. My wife's old cell phone camera will record for an hour as well, but it is light and while the resolution is limited I want every camera I can put on it to limit the chance of a complete camera failure. So far, the lithium batteries have held out long enough during testing that I shouldn't need an additional power supply, but I may go ahead and do it for sheer caution purposes. The cameras each have a DC out, and they could each be plugged into a power pack of some kind. Not sure if the weight will make this viable, but the added security might be worth it. Launch week is from March 20th to March 28th; I'm using the whole week so I can pick the day when winds are the calmest and the jet stream is furthest away from Arkansas.

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