Feed a Child's Curiousity with Raspberry Pi - Way up High!

This educational project is about a camera, a balloon, and the desire to make a difference.
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Seth Ludwig
Education
Frederick County, Maryland
United States
1 Team Member

Short Summary

The purpose of this project is simple. Attach a Raspberry Pi + camera module to a weather balloon and take photos from near space (+100,000ft). Why? Because it's educational, fun, and just because we can. Help us create a memorable experience, and donate the remaining funds to the local food bank!
 
My name is Seth Ludwig. I am the father of two children, and a loving husband. I started this project with one goal in mind, to create a memorable and educational project for everyone involved. This is important to me because I've always enjoyed learning, experimenting, and doing things out of the ordinary. It is my intention to include the surrounding community, local schools, friends, and family members in this project. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.
 
By funding this project, you are directly contributing to the education of students and children, the research of my team, the enjoyment of all participants, and putting food into the bellies of those less fortunate. Choose one of our perks, and be rewarded for your donation!

We have raised over $650 USD for the local food bank, with the help of our contributors. Our project has already been bought and paid for. With your help, we can truly make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate.

You're Completely Funded, Now what?

You can still help us make a difference by donating to this campaign, or sharing it with your friends. We've already set aside over $650 USD from this fundraiser to be donated to the local food bank, and any additional funds raised will be added to the donation. Lets show the world what we are capable of doing!

Updates

July 7: The payload design has been completed, cameras have been mounted, sealed, and implemented. Testing will continue, check the facebook page for photo updates!

July 2: Laura Blasey, from the Frederick News Post, wrote a great article on the project! You can read it here.

June 29:
Payload container will be designed and built by the team next week. Stay tuned for photo updates!

June 26: Battery containers have arrived. Combined with voltage regulators, we are ready to launch in August! Testing will continue. Updates will follow!

June 24: All parts have been recieved, with the exception of our battery containers. Contacted a helium provider and reserved a 125 cu. feet tank for early August. Who knew that there is apparently a helium shortage?

June 21: Parts are being shipped out. Parachute, radar reflector, voltage regulators, and LED flashers have all arrived and are functioning properly. Expect more updates next week!

June 20: Using a 1 second interval for 20 minutes, here is a timelapse video that was compiled using the Raspberry Pi and Camera Module once the rain had cleared.

June 19: The generousity of everyone has been extraordinary. We have surpassed our goal, and still have plenty of time left for the fundraiser! Last night I configured and tested the camera module creating a timelapse video sample, check it out.

June 18: We've reached our goal! Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, without you this project would not be possible! You can still donate and recieve perks, until July 24th. Thanks again guys!

June 16: The team did a little more research on desirable launch sites for the project, and we've settled on the Denton, MD area.

June 15: GPS module arrived today. It is functioning flawlessly! Keep up to date with all recent developments as they happen at our facebook page.

June 14: Raspberry Pi units showed up today, and so did the weather balloon! This really only means that less money will be spent on the project hardware requirements, and more will be donated to the food bank. Thanks for your continued support of this project!


 has agreed to host you as a speaker on their show if you make a donation to this fundraiser.

What We Need & What You Get

With the success of our campaign, we don't really need much other than your support. Our project has been paid for and testing is ongoing. All additional funds raised by this project are being donated to the local food bank. 

The components required for this project are as follows:

  1. Raspberry Pi (x2) - Verticle and Horizontal imagery.
  2. Raspberry Pi Camera Module (x2) - Verticle and Horizontal imagery.
  3. 4GB SD Card (x2) - Storage of the images on each Raspberry Pi
  4. Weather Balloon - We're currently looking at a 20ft dia. Professional Weather Balloon, 600g.
  5. Parachute - Low porosity rip-stop weather balloon parachutes are designed for high altitude payloads. To ensure the safety of both the people involved, and our payload's safe return, this is a critical component of our project. The parachute will be tested extensively prior to launch. We need a parachute approximately 5-6ft in diameter to meet the requirements of our payload with a safe descent rate.
  6. GPS Tracker - We're currently looking at the Garmin GTU-10 for the recovery of our equipment.
  7. Lithium Batteries - Lithium batteries are designed to withstand extreme temperatures, which are prevalent in the upper stratosphere. For our project, we intend to use Energizer's Ultimate Lithium batteries with a USB battery pack to provide power to our equipment.
  8. Helium Tank / Gas Rental

Balloon Flight Theory

  1. A payload (an insulated box containing some electronics such as a GPS and a radio to allow you to follow progress) is attached to a balloon which is filled with helium (He).
  2. The balloon is released and, as He is lighter than air, the balloon rises and pulls the payload with it.
  3. As the balloon rises the outside pressure decreases which leads to the helium inside the balloon expanding (imagine like its expanding to fill the gap as the outside pressure decreases), this causes the balloon to stretch.
  4. The balloon is made of a form of latex and is incredibly stretchy however it gets to a point where it can't stretch any more and bursts.
  5. Now that there isn't any upward pull from the balloon the payload begins to fall to earth pulled by gravity, as it falls the parachute opens up slowing its descent and it gently glides down to earth.
  6. Throughout the flight the GPS unit inside the payload container is transmitting its position to the internet, where it is viewed by the ground team and tracked.
  7. Additional components include for example cameras and temperature sensor. You also will need a parachute, a balloon and some helium and permission to launch.

Resources used for the planning of this project:

  1. Planning: http://stilldavid.com/habfaq/
  2. Flight Trajectory: http://weather.uwyo.edu/polar/balloon_traj.html
  3. Recovery: http://the-rocketman.com/recovery.html
  4. Additional information: http://kaymontballoons.com/Near_Space_Photograp...

As a special thanks to contributors involved in funding this project, here is what you can expect to get by making a donation:

$5 donation: By donating five dollars to this project, you will receive a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post!

$10 donation: By donating ten dollars to this project, you will receive five of the highest quality photos taken during the flight, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email.

$25 donation: By donating twenty-five dollars to this project, you will receive all of the photos taken during the flight, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email.

$100 donation: By donating one hundred dollars to this project, you will receive a video documentary recorded during launch and recovery, all of the photos, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email.

$150 donation: By donating one hundred fifty dollars to this project, you will receive one of the Raspberry Pi units used in the flight, a video documentary recorded during launch and recovery, all of the photos, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email for the photos, and priority USPS shipping for the Raspberry Pi unit.

In the event that we are unable to recover the payload or in the event that the launch does not go as planned or fails, all contributors will recieve the launch footage free of charge (to verify that we actually tried), and free photos and video for the next launch.

The Impact

Your contributions to this project are directly creating educational and lasting memories for children of all ages. Again, any funds remaining at the end of this project are to be donated to the Thurmont Food Bank, to help feed the homeless or less fortunate. Thank you for your contribution!

Other Ways You Can Help

If you would like to help but are unable to support our project financially, we understand. You can still help us out by sharing this project with your family, friends, or coworkers. Share it on Facebook, tweet it on twitter, let people know what we are about!
Find This Campaign On
$1,023USD
raised in 1 month
136% funded
No time left
$750 USD goal
Fixed Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 24, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Blog Credit

    By donating five dollars to this project, you will receive a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post!

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $10USD
    Photos (x5)

    By donating ten dollars to this project, you will receive five of the highest quality photos taken during the flight, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email.

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $25USD
    Photos (All)

    By donating twenty-five dollars to this project, you will receive all of the photos taken during the flight, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email.

    8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $100USD
    Documentary + Photos

    By donating one hundred dollars to this project, you will receive a video documentary recorded during launch and recovery, all of the photos, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email.

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • SOLD OUT

    $150USD
    RaspPi + Documentary + Photos

    By donating one hundred fifty dollars to this project, you will receive one of the Raspberry Pi units used in the flight, a video documentary recorded during launch and recovery, all of the photos, as well as a personal thank you posted to the credits of the blog post! Delivery is via digital download or email for the photos, and priority USPS shipping for the Raspberry Pi unit.

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
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