Project: Traveler is a high altitude balloon research project of Custom Digital Services, LLC. Based in Hutchinson, KS, Project: Traveler has been flying and chasing balloons all over the midwest since 2001.
From the beginning, education has driving factor behind the Project: Traveler group, working with elementary schools and hosting the Great Plains Super Launch and symposium in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2014. With our extensive set of hardware, software, and tracking equipment, coupled with over ten years of experience, Custom Digital Services and Project: Traveler can help bring space into your classroom.
ArduinoTrack Flight Controller
The ArduinoTrack Flight Controller is a stand-alone APRS beaconing system, designed for high altitude ballooning in near-space. The complete system with a lithium-polymer battery capable of operating for over 8 hours, an antenna, and a 3D printed carrier board weighs in at about 250 grams. Project: Traveler has been developing, flying, and refining the board since 2010 and it is now considered stable.
The ArduinoTrack features an Atmel ATMega328p processor programmed in the Arduino IDE, integrated GPS receiver/antenna, an (optional) integrated VHF transmitter module, and sensors for temperature, barometric pressure, and battery voltage. All of the configuration data is stored in EEPROM and can easily be changed by using the ArduinoTrack Configurator tool by anyone with a Windows PC and a TTL serial interface cable.
Flight #28 - 2015c
The third flight for Project: Traveler in 2015 has been rescheduled for Monday May 25rd in Hutchinson, KS. This flight will be a personal altitude record attempt and will consist of just a bare-minimum of one APRS transmitter and a streamer recovery.
The APRS tracker will be the brand new ArduinoTrack design, based on the Ublox Max M8Q GPS engine and the latest version 1.10 PCB. No other cameras or equipment will be flown on this attempt.
2012 Grand Cherokee Radio Install
For balloon chasing, a dedicated APRS tracking station with the appropriate software (like Balloon Finder) are key to a successful chase, having a backup APRS rig in the vehicle is never a bad idea. My primary COM/NAV rig is the Yaesu FTM-400DR which I recently installed in a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Flight #27 - 2015b
Project: Traveler has been invited in to a local elementary school during the spring of 2015 to do a launch.
UPDATE: The balloon was recovered this morning near Groveland, KS. The first photos can be found below under Photo Highlights!!!
The payload will consist of 2-3 APRS trackers, along with numerous cameras. I will be trying to acquire a second A570IS camera since those are the most reliable units that we've found to-date. Also new for this flight will be a set of 3D printed avionics frames to hold all of the controllers, transmitters, and batteries rigid. The ultimate goal of this is to increase the reliability of the electronic packages.
Flight #26 - 2015a
Project: Traveler will be spending the fall/winter building out a new generation of ArduinoTrack tracker boards in preparation for the next flight.
Update: The new controller boards are in and have been tested. They're ready for a test flight, which has been scheduled for Saturday morning, February 7th. If the surface winds cooperate, we'll push for a later launch date, but that is yet to be determined.