highaltitude.log.20060523

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[03:30] <macfreak4> hey
[03:30] <icez> bing
[03:31] <defy> :)
[03:32] <macfreak4> whoa
[03:32] <macfreak4> ppl are actually on!
[03:32] <macfreak4> :D
[03:32] <icez> yay
[03:32] <icez> hey macfreak4 are you into balloons?
[03:33] <macfreak4> well, i'm launching in a few weeks :P
[03:33] <macfreak4> but it'll likely be my only launch
[03:33] <icez> pictures?
[03:33] <macfreak4> macfreak4.homeunix.com/projects/ensure
[03:33] <macfreak4> it's incomplete, but theres some stuff there
[03:34] <icez> nice name;)
[03:34] <macfreak4> hehe
[03:34] <macfreak4> thx
[03:37] <macfreak4> brb
[04:08] <macfreak4> back
[04:10] <icez> wb
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[21:35] <Ed_Moore_87> hi
[21:37] <jcoxon> hey
[21:39] <Ed_Moore_87> i emailed you earlier
[21:39] <Ed_Moore_87> since spotted that this was a good place :)
[21:39] <jcoxon> yeah
[21:39] <jcoxon> recognised the name
[21:40] <jcoxon> not that many people here right now
[21:40] <jcoxon> i'm sure they'll be back later
[21:40] <Ed_Moore_87> cool
[21:40] <Ed_Moore_87> well, i'll know for future
[21:40] <jcoxon> :-D
[21:40] <jcoxon> just got my lcd working on my gumstix
[21:41] <Ed_Moore_87> I really would like to try a balloon
[21:41] <jcoxon> :-D
[21:41] <jcoxon> well when you get to cam in october Nova will definitly be going nicely
[21:41] <Ed_Moore_87> it'll be a fantastic test for the datalogging bit, aswell as an awesome project in its own right
[21:41] <jcoxon> :-D
[21:41] <Ed_Moore_87> i really enjoyed the youtube vid too
[21:41] <jcoxon> ooo cool
[21:41] <jcoxon> hehe
[21:42] <jcoxon> lots of screaming
[21:42] <Ed_Moore_87> it's quite humbling that this polystyrene box toy launch from your garden with help from the parents is going to go towards the edge of space, where the sky is black and you can see the curvature of the earth
[21:42] <Ed_Moore_87> you* not toy
[21:43] <Ed_Moore_87> clever stuff :)
[21:44] <Ed_Moore_87> actually i do have a question (well, lots, but one right now): the balloon ratings
[21:44] <Ed_Moore_87> eg 200g
[21:44] <Ed_Moore_87> is that the amount of helium you put in?
[21:45] <jcoxon> no thats the weight of the balloon
[21:45] <jcoxon> empty
[21:45] <Ed_Moore_87> right
[21:46] <Ed_Moore_87> and is there some wee rule of thumb relating balloon weight to payload?
[21:46] <jcoxon> sort of
[21:46] <jcoxon> there are loads of factors
[21:46] <jcoxon> depending on how high you want to go
[21:47] <jcoxon> for example if you fill the balloon up a lot you'll get more lift but i'll burst at a lower altitude
[21:48] <jcoxon> it'll*
[21:48] <Ed_Moore_87> so would it be, for example, a less inflated balloon (for a given payload) would give you a slower ascent but a higher altitude?
[21:48] <jcoxon> yeah
[21:48] <jcoxon> quite a difference
[21:48] <jcoxon> but then a slower ascent means more drift
[21:48] <jcoxon> and therefore increased risk of the sea
[21:49] <Ed_Moore_87> eg pegasus 2? :)
[21:50] <jcoxon> yeah
[21:50] <jcoxon> though pegasus 2 failed for so many reasons
[21:50] <jcoxon> it was a total mess
[21:50] <Ed_Moore_87> that must have been a bugger
[21:50] <jcoxon> i was chatting to my friend dave (he helps me with the launches) and we agreed that it was good it failed
[21:50] <jcoxon> learnt some really important lessosn
[21:50] <jcoxon> lessons*
[21:51] <jcoxon> Pegasus III is nice and clean, and organised
[21:51] <Ed_Moore_87> and is that the next to be launched?
[21:52] <jcoxon> yup
[21:52] <Ed_Moore_87> awesome
[21:52] <jcoxon> the window will open 3 weeks on friday
[21:52] <Ed_Moore_87> i think i might have to relocate to lauch, as if i get, say, a 60 mile flight with a south westerly wind, it'll land somewhere around trafalgar square
[21:53] <jcoxon> this is the problem
[21:53] <jcoxon> you can't relocate your launch site
[21:53] <jcoxon> all to do with air traffic control
[21:53] <jcoxon> hehe
[21:53] <Ed_Moore_87> can you apply to laucn somewhere else in the first place?
[21:53] <jcoxon> sorry you can
[21:53] <jcoxon> missed read you message
[21:53] <Ed_Moore_87> lol
[21:53] <jcoxon> to much revision today
[21:54] <Ed_Moore_87> i'm also fairly under a flightline into gatwick
[21:54] <jcoxon> oh that doesn't usually matter
[21:54] <Ed_Moore_87> really?
[21:54] <jcoxon> i launched pegasus 1 0.5miles for wattisham airbase
[21:54] <jcoxon> directly on the flight path
[21:55] <jcoxon> they use our house to come in
[21:55] <Ed_Moore_87> lol
[21:55] <Ed_Moore_87> ok then :)
[21:55] <jcoxon> it might take the CAA a bit longer to clear permission for you
[21:55] <jcoxon> and some extra phone calls would have to be made
[21:55] <jcoxon> you'd be suprised
[21:55] <Ed_Moore_87> suprised with a smile or a frown?
[21:55] <jcoxon> :-D
[21:56] <Ed_Moore_87> :)
[21:56] <jcoxon> hmmm
[21:57] <jcoxon> if i pipe a bit of text through it only prints the first 4 characters
[21:57] <jcoxon> with tail
[21:57] <jcoxon> but if i use cat for the whole file it works
[21:57] <Ed_Moore_87> on irc? or are we talking about sending texts from SBCs
[21:58] <jcoxon> oh gumstix to lcd
[21:59] <jcoxon> maybe the comma screws it up
[21:59] <jcoxon> thinks its a command
[21:59] <Ed_Moore_87> I'm tempted to do all this with a PIC, as i 'know' pics (moresow than scary linuxy stuff anyway) and can already talk to GPS modules and send texts, write to LCDs and so on. but just those three things would keep a PIC pretty busy, and doesn't really give me a great deal of room for expansion
[22:00] <jcoxon> yeah we are having this debate about Nova (the cambridge balloon project)
[22:00] <jcoxon> one of the key members of the team is a PIC expert
[22:00] <jcoxon> i'm not a fan of PICS
[22:00] <jcoxon> though i do see their advantages
[22:00] <Ed_Moore_87> i mean there would be a million things i could do if i got the hang on SBCs that i'd have no hope to do with a PIC, like write drivers for the USBs and, say, superimpose GPS data onto the JPEGs, or at least add it to the meta data
[22:00] <jcoxon> i just like an operating system
[22:01] <jcoxon> change things on the fly
[22:01] <Ed_Moore_87> yeah, it's certainly infinatelly more flexible
[22:01] <Ed_Moore_87> it's just i've never done any programming bar pics and i'm being a wimp
[22:01] <jcoxon> at the moment we are going with the PIC
[22:01] <Ed_Moore_87> i'll force myself to do it. it's the only way i'll learn :)
[22:01] <jcoxon> but i reckon we'll end up using something like a gumstix on top
[22:02] <Ed_Moore_87> well for the hovering thing i'm using an SBC to control a load of pic boards
[22:02] <jcoxon> yeah
[22:02] <Ed_Moore_87> the PICs are dedicated solely to running the control law
[22:02] <Ed_Moore_87> and the SBC will deal with all the housekeeping and fluff
[22:03] <Ed_Moore_87> and the way things are going, all the signal filtering
[22:03] <jcoxon> right
[22:03] <jcoxon> so how are you communicating between the SBC and the PICs
[22:04] <Ed_Moore_87> rs232
[22:04] <Ed_Moore_87> i tried in vain to get PICs to act as I2C slaves, but they just can't
[22:04] <jcoxon> how odd
[22:05] <jcoxon> how many ports does you sbc have?
[22:05] <Ed_Moore_87> their bigger brothers, DSPics can, but standard pics can only act as masters unless you really write a headachey bodge
[22:05] <Ed_Moore_87> here's a link with a decent diagram:
[22:05] <Ed_Moore_87> http://www.acmesystems.it/?id=4
[22:06] <Ed_Moore_87> it's 60 x 70 mm
[22:07] <jcoxon> wow
[22:07] <jcoxon> and for £100?
[22:07] <Ed_Moore_87> yep
[22:07] <jcoxon> thats very good
[22:07] <Ed_Moore_87> from crownhill, who i get all my PIC stuff from
[22:08] <Ed_Moore_87> they have a fantastic BASIC compiler called Proton
[22:08] <jcoxon> gumstix do have a bit more processing power and ram etc
[22:08] <Ed_Moore_87> yeah
[22:08] <jcoxon> but the usb host is excellent
[22:08] <Ed_Moore_87> i noticed
[22:08] <Ed_Moore_87> i'm hoping that'll suffice for basic datalogging
[22:08] <jcoxon> though to tell the truth you don't really need that much power
[22:08] <Ed_Moore_87> the USB ports are a boon
[22:09] <jcoxon> i'll definitly remember that
[22:09] <jcoxon> perhaps it would be good for Nova
[22:09] <Ed_Moore_87> thinks like PHP take up 7MB, so i can stick all that on a usb stick
[22:09] <Ed_Moore_87> oh, the nova site was down earlier
[22:09] <Ed_Moore_87> i haven't tried thisafternoon
[22:10] <jcoxon> oh yeah they have just started developing it
[22:10] <jcoxon> it won't be up for a bit
[22:10] <Ed_Moore_87> the other option for talking to the PICs which I'm keener to persue is a shared I2C memory
[22:10] <Ed_Moore_87> as it doesn't tie the PICs up with synching with the SBC
[22:10] <jcoxon> you should really talk to henry
[22:11] <jcoxon> he is on here occasionally
[22:11] <Ed_Moore_87> and so mess up my time critical control law
[22:11] <jcoxon> he is the PIC pro for us
[22:11] <Ed_Moore_87> cool
[22:11] <Ed_Moore_87> that would be fantastic
[22:11] <Ed_Moore_87> is he an engineer?
[22:11] <jcoxon> yup
[22:11] <jcoxon> 1st year
[22:11] <Ed_Moore_87> cool
[22:11] <Ed_Moore_87> i've realised all these projects seem to me far more electronics than mechanics
[22:12] <jcoxon> hmmm
[22:12] <Ed_Moore_87> even tho i would still say i'm a mechanics person, i seem to have got sucked in
[22:12] <jcoxon> i'm not great with the mechanics
[22:12] <Ed_Moore_87> i still want to do aero eventually
[22:12] <Ed_Moore_87> i have a wee thing for jet engines
[22:13] <Ed_Moore_87> hence their (totally unecessary) use in my project
[22:13] <jcoxon> haha
[22:13] <Ed_Moore_87> just properllers would do, bu they don't sound cool, which ultimatelly makes them totally useless
[22:13] <jcoxon> :-)
[22:15] <Ed_Moore_87> so did you say you're hoping to lauch pegasus three in the next few weeks?
[22:15] <jcoxon> yup
[22:15] <jcoxon> with Nova 1 and also HiHab
[22:15] <jcoxon> 3 balloons
[22:15] <jcoxon> Pegasus will definitly be ready (its sitting here right now
[22:15] <jcoxon> )
[22:15] <jcoxon> i'm just adding extra bits and bobs
[22:16] <jcoxon> also got a quote for a pair of radio modems :-p
[22:16] <Ed_Moore_87> haha
[22:16] <Ed_Moore_87> will you be keeping the texting?
[22:17] <jcoxon> oh yes
[22:17] <Ed_Moore_87> and are you launching somewhere different?
[22:17] <jcoxon> the radio modems i've found have a range of 15km
[22:17] <jcoxon> launching up at churchill
[22:17] <Ed_Moore_87> oh
[22:18] <jcoxon> its now our launch site
[22:18] <Ed_Moore_87> my college :)
[22:18] <jcoxon> hehe
[22:18] <Ed_Moore_87> well, in oct
[22:18] <jcoxon> wouldn't of guess :-p
[22:18] <Ed_Moore_87> lol
[22:18] <jcoxon> well there are lots of engineers there
[22:18] <Ed_Moore_87> yep
[22:18] <jcoxon> and they are happy to let us use the sports field
[22:18] <Ed_Moore_87> so i'm always told
[22:18] <Ed_Moore_87> the philistine capital of cambridge :)
[22:18] <jcoxon> there are some radio modems for 32km
[22:18] <Ed_Moore_87> wow
[22:19] <jcoxon> but they are at 900mhz
[22:19] <Ed_Moore_87> which is banned in the uk?
[22:19] <jcoxon> but i'm not sure the mobile phone companies would be happy with me transmitting at that freq
[22:19] <Ed_Moore_87> oh yes, it is
[22:19] <jcoxon> so it'll have to be the slight less powerful ones
[22:19] <Ed_Moore_87> they'd live, i'm sure
[22:20] <jcoxon> yeah but ofcom wouldn't be to happy :-p
[22:20] <Ed_Moore_87> can you not use HAM?
[22:20] <jcoxon> trying to keep on the right side of them
[22:20] <jcoxon> not allowed
[22:20] <Ed_Moore_87> oh, is that another silly uk think?
[22:20] <Ed_Moore_87> flying hams?
[22:20] <jcoxon> ypu
[22:20] <Ed_Moore_87> wierd image
[22:20] <jcoxon> no airborne unmanned stations
[22:20] <Ed_Moore_87> that's retarded
[22:20] <Ed_Moore_87> still, proud to be british
[22:21] <Ed_Moore_87> and they wonder why all research and R&D firms wonder off abraod
[22:21] <Ed_Moore_87> i have a fried who works for a UK X-prize company
[22:22] <jcoxon> ooo cool
[22:22] <Ed_Moore_87> and the US goverment is positivelly bending over backwards, filling in all their forms for them, going at the red tape with a machete, almost, to get them over to new mexico
[22:22] <jcoxon> i know (from IRC) one of the heads of an X-prize company
[22:22] <Ed_Moore_87> and they want to stay in the UK, but it's just a nightmare to do anything here
[22:22] <jcoxon> oh the government just makes it so hard
[22:23] <Ed_Moore_87> they've been told they have to inform everyone within 3 miles a month in advance of performing any engine tests
[22:23] <Ed_Moore_87> which is a joke
[22:23] <jcoxon> perhaps Pegasus/Nova are the UK space agency :-p
[22:24] <Ed_Moore_87> haha
[22:24] <Ed_Moore_87> wouldn't be suprised
[22:25] <Ed_Moore_87> this project is infact similar in principal to the lunar x-prize
[22:25] <jcoxon> just don't get me started on my ideas of launching rockets from balloons
[22:25] <Ed_Moore_87> when we realised it was too big a scale for us (they want us to shift 25kg payloads and fly with 90 second rocket burns) we deicded to build this platofrm as a proof on concept
[22:25] <Ed_Moore_87> i've been thinking about launching rockets from balloons all day :)
[22:26] <Ed_Moore_87> i saw the glider site
[22:26] <Ed_Moore_87> and was think (ok... so you've got to 60,000 feet- why the hell do you want to go down? stick a rocket in and carry on up"
[22:26] <jcoxon> hehe
[22:26] <jcoxon> less air resistance - would go a lot higher
[22:26] <Ed_Moore_87> hmm, dodgy mix of punctuation there
[22:26] <Ed_Moore_87> sorry
[22:27] <Ed_Moore_87> yeah, a sort of spach ship 1 concept would be ideal
[22:27] <jcoxon> its been done before
[22:27] <jcoxon> Van Allen was the first
[22:27] <Ed_Moore_87> really?
[22:27] <jcoxon> they would launch the rocket through the balloon
[22:27] <Ed_Moore_87> ha, harcore :)
[22:27] <jcoxon> about the 1940s/50s
[22:28] <jcoxon> oh once we can maintain Nova at an altitude for more the 24 hours
[22:28] <Ed_Moore_87> they're a bit of a 'blue-sky' project going on where i work current
[22:28] <Ed_Moore_87> normally we make magnetic bearings
[22:28] <jcoxon> we'll move on to exciting things
[22:28] <Ed_Moore_87> but they're talking about a rail up the side of a mountain, which accelerates rockets to, well, beyond the speed of sound, up the side of a mountain
[22:28] <jcoxon> though Pegasus is now the test platform for crazy ideas
[22:29] <jcoxon> interesting
[22:29] <Ed_Moore_87> this rail being a magnetically levitated rocket launcher
[22:29] <Ed_Moore_87> and the amount of fuel it's projected to save is really quite impressive
[22:29] <Ed_Moore_87> given a saturn 5 used about half its fuel to get 100ft off the ground :)
[22:30] <jcoxon> :-D
[22:31] <Ed_Moore_87> but the high altitude thing really appeals to me
[22:31] <jcoxon> :-D
[22:31] <jcoxon> well then
[22:31] <Ed_Moore_87> and it was a real eye-opener to come across your site
[22:31] <jcoxon> you know what to do
[22:31] <jcoxon> thansk
[22:31] <jcoxon> thanks*
[22:33] <jcoxon> well firstly sign up here: http://www.ukhas.org.uk
[22:35] <Ed_Moore_87> done
[22:35] <Ed_Moore_87> thanks for the link
[22:36] <jcoxon> no probs
[22:36] <jcoxon> its only small
[22:36] <jcoxon> but i'll grow :-D
[22:36] <Ed_Moore_87> hehe
[22:36] <Ed_Moore_87> well there's no better place to have a good base for it than camb
[22:37] <Ed_Moore_87> so what is nova like?
[22:37] <Ed_Moore_87> is it essentially similar to pegasus or is it trying to do different things?
[22:38] <jcoxon> Nova 1 will be nearly identical
[22:38] <jcoxon> as in the system
[22:38] <jcoxon> so they'll be using sms
[22:38] <jcoxon> but with a pic
[22:38] <jcoxon> and also a nice sensor suite
[22:38] <jcoxon> so actually not that identical
[22:38] <Ed_Moore_87> cool
[22:38] <Ed_Moore_87> what sort of sensors?
[22:39] <jcoxon> temp, pressure, accelerometers etc
[22:39] <jcoxon> (I'm not really involved in that bit)
[22:39] <Ed_Moore_87> cool
[22:39] <jcoxon> and if it survives we will then launch the payload as Nova 2 and 3
[22:39] <jcoxon> looking at the difference between day and night
[22:40] <Ed_Moore_87> uhuh
[22:40] <Ed_Moore_87> as a by-th-by, do you know what the atitude record for a balloon is?
[22:40] <jcoxon> then i'm not sure where we are going from there
[22:40] <jcoxon> ummm its about 150,000ft
[22:40] <Ed_Moore_87> christ
[22:41] <Ed_Moore_87> that's halfway to official space
[22:42] <jcoxon> yeah
[22:42] <Ed_Moore_87> must be a decent view from up there
[22:42] <jcoxon> i'm sort of guessing
[22:43] <jcoxon> amateur i think its about 125,000ft
[22:43] <Ed_Moore_87> oh, do you stick UV filters infront of the camera lenses?
[22:43] <jcoxon> i didn't
[22:43] <jcoxon> but
[22:43] <Ed_Moore_87> because it should cut out a lot of haze
[22:43] <jcoxon> i perhaps should of
[22:43] <jcoxon> i was suprised how good the pictures are
[22:43] <Ed_Moore_87> yeah, the one at the top of the peg 1 page is just beautiuful
[22:44] <Ed_Moore_87> that's what made me say 'i have to build one'
[22:44] <jcoxon> http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~jac208/pegasus/pictures/IMAG0249.JPG
[22:44] <jcoxon> i think this one is better
[22:45] <Ed_Moore_87> the black sky is amazing
[22:45] <Ed_Moore_87> i wonder....
[22:45] <Ed_Moore_87> might be worth trying a polarising filter too
[22:45] <jcoxon> yeah
[22:45] <Ed_Moore_87> because they punch up the colours aswell as darken the skies
[22:45] <Ed_Moore_87> but that's such a good image
[22:46] <jcoxon> hopefull we'll get some more :-D
[22:46] <Ed_Moore_87> its that fantastic gradient of blue to black where you can see the atmosphere just ending
[22:46] <jcoxon> there is something about this one i like as well
[22:46] <jcoxon> http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~jac208/pegasus/pictures/IMAG0259.JPG
[22:47] <Ed_Moore_87> that's really other-worldly
[22:47] <jcoxon> actually all the 250s
[22:47] <Ed_Moore_87> the clouds look like land masses
[22:48] <jcoxon> http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~jac208/pegasus/pictures/IMAG0242.JPG
[22:48] <jcoxon> hehe i love looking back at them
[22:48] <jcoxon> i should spend some time just looking through them
[22:49] <jcoxon> i forgot how happy i was with them
[22:49] <Ed_Moore_87> they really are fantastic
[22:49] <jcoxon> perhaps peg IV should have a video camera
[22:49] <Ed_Moore_87> it's amazing you can get stuff like that that looks NASA-ey from something you launced in your back garden
[22:50] <jcoxon> have it rigged up to turn on say at 20km
[22:50] <Ed_Moore_87> yeah
[22:50] <jcoxon> would be really interesting
[22:50] <Ed_Moore_87> have you any way of tying any of the images with GPS data?
[22:50] <Ed_Moore_87> for example recorded the position in a text file whenever you take a pic
[22:51] <jcoxon> already done
[22:51] <jcoxon> did that yesterday
[22:51] <jcoxon> i've got a camera.log now which timestamps
[22:51] <Ed_Moore_87> cool
[22:51] <Ed_Moore_87> i wouldn't even know how to create a text file
[22:51] <jcoxon> so if i turn the camera on first and then the gumstix
[22:51] <Ed_Moore_87> have so much to learn :)
[22:51] <jcoxon> have a look at my scripts
[22:52] <Ed_Moore_87> i will do
[22:52] <Ed_Moore_87> definatelly
[22:52] <jcoxon> http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~jac208/pegasus/software/scripts/gpslogger.txt
[22:52] <jcoxon> i've got more advanced ones
[22:52] <jcoxon> its really simple though
[22:52] <jcoxon> so the command
[22:53] <jcoxon> echo "hello" >/gps.log
[22:53] <jcoxon> would make the file and put hello in it
[22:53] <jcoxon> actually it would be
[22:53] <jcoxon> echo "hello" >>/gps.log
[22:53] <Ed_Moore_87> oh
[22:53] <Ed_Moore_87> that's not as terrifying as i had visions of
[22:53] <jcoxon> shell scripts are slow though
[22:54] <jcoxon> but are fine for logging gps or camera clicks
[22:54] <Ed_Moore_87> uhuh
[22:54] <Ed_Moore_87> and is it C for the rest of it?
[22:55] <jcoxon> yeah
[22:55] <jcoxon> though i haven't actually done that much coding
[22:55] <jcoxon> most of it is free software
[22:55] <jcoxon> GPSD for gps
[22:56] <jcoxon> Gnokii for communicating with the phone
[22:56] <Ed_Moore_87> and should that work on the fox board or is it gumstix specific?
[22:56] <jcoxon> an adapted gpslog program
[22:56] <jcoxon> oh it'll definitly work
[22:56] <Ed_Moore_87> music to my ears :D
[22:56] <jcoxon> just need to compile with you foxboard SDK
[22:56] <Ed_Moore_87> yeah
[22:56] <Ed_Moore_87> no probs
[22:56] <Ed_Moore_87> well they provide an online compiler
[22:56] <jcoxon> oh the fox board will do everything a gumstix does
[22:56] <Ed_Moore_87> which saves me faffing with VM
[22:57] <jcoxon> gumstix have a very good buildroot
[22:58] <Ed_Moore_87> it is a v tempting proposition
[23:05] <Ed_Moore_87> right, i need to make a move (seminal all day tomoorw :'( )
[23:05] <Ed_Moore_87> thank you very much for all your help!
[23:06] <jcoxon> no probs
[23:06] <Ed_Moore_87> i'll be back soon
[23:06] <Ed_Moore_87> :)
[23:06] <jcoxon> cool cya
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