The University of Nevada, Reno
Nevada Space Grant
Student
High-Altitude Ballooning

NV SGC
This program is generously supported by the Nevada Space Grant Consortium


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Missions

 

We have flown a digital SLR on several missions. This is the heaviest camera payload we have and, thus, is not flown on all missions. Depending on the exact combination of cameras used, the payload can weigh in at over 2.5 kg.



This payload actually contains 4 cameras: Canon Rebel XTi, amateur radio televsion (ATV), and 2 pencams (see camera section for details on each camera).

All of the cameras are controlled by a LEGO NXT programmable brick (we currently hold the world record for highest NXT). The three ouput ports on the NXT were used to throw relays, which in turn were wired to the shutter release buttons of each camera (the ATV was always on). The 4 input ports on the NXT were used to sense the closing of relays on our DTMF board in the primary communications payload (the NXT program simply monitored the input ports as touch sensors). The DTMF relays allowed us to send commands to the NXT from the ground during different phases of the mission (launch, high altitude, burst, etc.). The NXT was programmed to take pictures at different intervals and with the various cameras based on the combination of inputs sensed.

The NXT was programmed using ROBOLAB, a programming environment based on LabVIEW. We used the NXT for payloads for two reasons: 1) we use the NXT extensively in our classes already and 2) we like LEGO's.

The paylaod shown was destroyed during landing of NBS-07-06. A similar payload has since been built and flown several missions. The only major revision has been the addition of a LEGO temperature sensor (using one of the input ports) that is used to control a small electric heater. The NXT not only controls the temperature (and cameras) but it also datalogs the temperature. The inside of the camera payload has gotten as cold as 0C (which is why we use Energizer Lithium batteries).