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Team icarus Final Project Presentation. AJ Knapp, Kyle Marek-Spartz, Lucas Chowen, Max Sjöberg, Mike Hill AEM 1905 – Nov. 24 th 2009. Mission Overview. Mission Overview. Optical Experiment Ballooning as a cost effective alternative for Day-time astronomy

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Team icarus final project presentation l.jpg

Team icarusFinal Project Presentation

AJ Knapp, Kyle Marek-Spartz,

Lucas Chowen, Max Sjöberg, Mike Hill

AEM 1905 – Nov. 24th 2009

Mission overview3 l.jpg

Mission Overview

Optical Experiment

Ballooning as a cost effective alternative for Day-time astronomy

Video camera + shots to compare from the ground

Block cameras direct view of sun to attempt capture of coronal features

Inertial Measurement Unit


Borrowed from Augsburg

Measures movement and rotational inertia

Test flight for the engineering of the unit

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Mission Overview (cont.)

  • Predictions

    • Optics

      • Attempt to show that ballooning is a cost effective alternative

      • Able to get good quality images of the sun

    • Magnetometer

      • Altitude has a lot/a little/no substantial impact on the magnetic field

      • Tracking and analyzing those, if any, changes

Team organization aj knapp l.jpg
Team Organization: AJ Knapp

  • Writing

    • Introduction, Payload Design

  • Oral Presentation

    • Flight Readiness Review

  • Payload Build

    • Box Build

    • Camera Experiment

  • Launch Day

    • Photographer

Team organization kyle marek spartz l.jpg
Team Organization: Kyle Marek-Spartz

  • Writing

    • Project Management, Payload Photos

  • Oral Presentation

    • Conceptual Design Review

  • Payload Build

    • Photographer

    • IMU

  • Launch Day

    • Prediction/Tracking Assistant

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Team Organization:Lucas Chowen

  • Writing

    • Mission Overview, Expected Science Results

  • Payload Build

    • Weather Station Build

    • HOBO (Payload “Health” Monitoring)

  • Launch Day

    • Balloon Filling and Release assistant

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Team Organization:Mike Hill

  • Writing

    • Launch and Recovery, Conclusions

  • Oral Presentation

    • Conceptual Design Review

  • Payload Build

    • Flight Computer

    • Programmer

  • Launch Day

    • Recovery Specialist

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Team Organization:Max Sjöberg

  • Writing

    • Project Budgets, Test Plan and Results

  • Oral Presentations

    • Flight Readiness Review

  • Payload Build

    • Team Lead

  • Launch Day

    • Payload/Stack Handling Specialist

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Design Overview: Material

White Foam Core w/ Black Foam cushion

Flip Video Camera

Inertial Measurement Unit

Includes magnetometer

Strapping Tape


Epoxy and Hot glue

Heater circuit

Power Supplies


Flight computer

Weather Station

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Design Overview: Layout


A: Flight Computer

B: Heater

C: Camera

(changed to FLIP Video)

D: Batteries

E: Battery


G: Magnetometer (changed to IMU)

Design overview conceptual diagram l.jpg


Temperature Sensor

Design Overview: Conceptual Diagram

Flight Computer

Weather Station

Flip HD Video







Inertial Measurement Unit

Data Logger

Accelerometers + Gyrometers


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Design Overview: Construction

Finished Box w/ no components

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Design Overview: Construction

Components inside payload

Attachment of Camera and Heater

Heater activation switch

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Design Overview: Construction

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Design Overview: Programming

  • IMU

    • Pre-programmed

    • Read sensor data 10 times / sec

    • Write to data logger

  • Flight Computer

    • Read sensor data every 15 seconds

    • Write to memory

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Design Overview: Budgets


Testing l.jpg


Drop Box

Results were good

Sturdy construction

Circuit tests

Connections were good, except one

That connection was fixed by Dr. Flaten

Heater Test


Camera Test



Tested data recording capabilities


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Additional Testing

  • Cold soak test

    • Made sure that payload can handle extreme temperature

    • Passed

  • Day-in-the-life Weather test

    • Attempt to alter weather station data to test function

    • Passed

  • Yank Test

    • Make sure that the box stays together

    • Passed

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Results of Testing

Our Payload was Ready to Go!

(w/ few modifications)

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Escape of the Zombicarus:… or Flight Day

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Flight Day

Status of the payload after the recovery was basically the same. Minor scratches from the tree landing. Landed roughly 25-30 feet in the air in a tree. Retrieved with bolo.

Payload was still securely sealed and all the instruments seemed to be working inside.

Disconnected all batteries and turned off IMU

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Expected Science Results

  • HOBO + Weather Station (WS)

    • Sensors:

      • Internal temperature (HOBO)

      • External temperature (HOBO + WS)

      • Relative Humidity (HOBO)

      • Pressure (WS)

    • These sensors will record data similar to Paul Verhage’s

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Expected Science Results

Optical Experiment

Solar Observation

Our hypothesis is:

It will not be cost effective

It may produce quality images of the sun that may be difficult to recreate on ground

Whether or not we get a good glimpse of the sun is arguable


Acceleration and movement tracking test

Our hypothesis:

After launch there will be little change

Post-burst will be violent, and we will be able to track it through the IMU

Conclusions l.jpg

  • External Temperature vs. Time

    Temperature dropped to about -50 degrees Celsius until about the 50 minute mark, then the payload entered part of the atmosphere where it started heating up to about -15 degrees Celsius, which at that point was close to burst, and following the burst the temperature rapidly fell to the lowest of the flight of -55 degrees Celsius.

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  • Relative Humidity vs. Altitude

    According the graph, as altitude increased, humidity decreased, to as low at 5% around the 80,000 foot mark.

  • Pressure vs. Altitude

    As altitude increases the pressure decreases

  • Solar Observation: Did not exactly work, need a better way of blocking out the sun.

  • IMU results will come later

Conclusions48 l.jpg

  • Change anything about payload to fly again?

    • Yes, better strategy to block out the sun with our HD video camera to get better results.

  • Project Successes:

    • Pumpkin design, which ultimately boosts morale of the team, which in turn makes them happy, thus, makes them work better.

  • Other successes:

    • Payload stayed intact, all instruments functioned properly.

  • Final Project Successfulness:

    • Relatively successful

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Words of Wisdom

  • Don’t drink too much water on the chase, you never know when you are going to stop.

  • Think BIG

  • If you assume, you make an a** out of “u” and “me”

  • If you think it might be cold, then it probably will be

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Thank You to the Following

  • Thanks to the rest of our class for providing a forum for bouncing around ideas

  • Thanks to our TAs, Amy and Phillip for assisting the construction

  • Thanks to Chris from Augsburg for helping with the IMU

  • Thanks to Professor Flaten for guiding us during these past few months