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.
Flight 32 will be conducted as part of the GPSL 2016, held near Granbury, TX from the Pecan Plantation airport. Due to limited trackers from our group, we will be flying in conjunction with Paul Verhage from NearSys. Many of the flight parameters are not known due to the shared flight and unknown parachute, etc.
The winter months have resulted in a few updates to the website and software. First of all, the assembled ArduinoTrack Shields are now available online for purchase at www.customdigitalservices.net. These are hand-assembled kits, built in Kansas, USA and are pre-programmed and tested. Additionally, there are several other items now available for sale in the store, including Lipo Batteries that are pre-wired for the ArduinoTrack, a Lipo battery charger, and a dipole antenna designed for High Altitude Ballooning.
A users manual was written for the ArduinoTrack, along with some new YouTube videos to guide through the process of configuring the ArduinoTrack and updating the firmware. Also, two new FAQ sections were started to help answer many of the basic questions that I receive from new users interested in Ballooning. One FAQ is for general ballooning, and the other is specifically for the ArduinoTrack.
For firmware, the ArduinoTrack and ArduinoTrack_Combined code bases have now been combined into a single C file named ArduinoTrack. There is a pre-compiler flag to select which mode is being programmed. Merging these two code bases will allow for quicker development and testing for future releases, rather than having to make updates in two separate areas. Other than the end-user needing to select which #define statement to use, there are no performance hits to this change. This change rolled the ArduinoTrack firmware version over to 3.0.0.
The ArduinoTrack Configurator tool was recently updated to be more user friendly and to avoid a few bugs that have been around for quite a while. It was also updated to Microsoft .Net 4.5 for the runtimes.
And finally, Balloon Finder was also updated to .Net 4.5, and had a couple of minor tweaks to it, mostly under the hood. The current version is 2016.0.1 and has shown to be quite stable.
Both of these updates to the .Net 4.5 platform unfortunatly means that Windows XP users will need to find a newer machine to run their software on. Given the fact that Microsoft hasn't been providing security updates for this operating system for a couple of years now, this move is actually long overdue.
The fourth flight for Project: Traveler this year will fly two ArduinoTrack flight computers, a new sensor, and a new camera platform. The ArduinoTrack has only seen minor updates since the last flight, but 2015d will include the latest hardware revision on the PCB. On the W0ZC-11 capsule, there will be a second temperature sensor measuring outside air temperature (in addition to the standard inside air temp).
Finally, in a third separate capsule, there will be a Raspberry Pi computer running Linux that has a total of four, 5MP cameras pointing in different directions and collecting images about every 4 seconds.
We may also be flying a second balloon on Saturday morning (#30, 2015e) as we will probably have enough left over Hydrogen and I have a spare tracker/capsule from our last 2015c flight.
Flight #31 will be a joint venture of the Project: Traveler group, and a new group that is forming in Dodge City. This will be Dodge City's first launch, and they will be leaning on us to help providing tracking and recovery assistance.
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.