Hello all! This week we are making significant progress towards the successful launch of our probe as we quickly near June!
Firstly I have been speaking with Dr Tate (Lab Facilities Manager) who has informed me that he is in possession of a canister of 50 bar, size V cylinder, CP (constant pressure) helium as well as a fully functioning regulator. Size V is 1.8 m^3, so this is approximately 90 m^3 at one atmosphere which is the standard pressure (and is sufficient for our needs). I also just confirmed with Mr Luke, the Department Safety Advisor, that this canister of helium is below the threshold for full compliance with the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).
The ADR specifically takes into account the water capacity of the cylinder in the calculation (water capacity in litres x no. of cylinders = number of points) with the full regulations kicking in at a threshold of 1000 points, which we are thankfully nowhere close to. The final step in acquiring the helium is confirming that we will use a transport vehicle that is insured for occasional business use.
In other news, Yihan made a video to display a travel path on google maps. From data fetching to information analysis and conversion, KML demonstrations and travel display, he has now finalised all research regarding the manipulation of GPS data and KML. In addition to this, Yihan contacted Adafruit Monochrome (electronic manufacturer) about the availability of large size, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). We use OLEDs because they are able to work in certain quasi-space conditions, such as low temperature and pressure. However since the size of the OLED that we wanted is not currently available, Yihan has enquired as to whether or not the manufacturer can find one and deliver it to us in a reasonable time. Moreover, Yihan has assumed the responsibility of bookkeeper, managing our budget account. He has made an Excel spreadsheet which indicates that as of now, we have a £202.84 available budget.
Max, Ash and Wei have been working on the uplink and they are very happy to report that it is working! Both the balloon Pi and the ground Pi are operationally ready (save for the OLED display). We are able to periodically pull GPS coordinates and sensor data off the balloon in addition to pictures taken with the Raspberry Pi camera. Simultaneously, we are able to tweet messages at the balloon with the keyword “MQTT”. We have set up Node-RED in Bluemix such that it searches for the keyword and pushes the message to the ground Pi. The ground Pi then sends up the data to the balloon Pi via LoRa and the message is displayed on our console. The next step would be to display the received messages on the OLED display. The team will crack on in this respect once the OLED display arrives!