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.

I have also been working on the website’s content in three different regards. Firstly I have added information about the polystyrene insulation to the ‘Sentinel’ page. As I mention, the Stratosphere’s temperature distribution is definitively unique due to the presence of the Ozone Layer at approximately 30km and therefore implementing proper insulation is essential in order to protect our equipment from sub minus 40 degrees celsius temperatures. Further to this, Diyar has been working with AutoCad software in order to build some sample designs for our probe housing. The second aspect of the website that I am now working on is experimenting with incorporating JavaScript’s D3js library into the HTML code in order to attempt to create live, interactive graphs of our sensor data on the website. If this is not possible directly then we can host the library on a different server and then imbed the link on our main site. Finally I have added a ‘Tutorials’ page to the website which Wei and Max will post in-depth technical walk-throughs on as early as next week!

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!

- Peter

 Information received through LoRa and sent to twitter (displayed below in second picture) and vice versa (UPLINK message)

Information received through LoRa and sent to twitter (displayed below in second picture) and vice versa (UPLINK message)

 Display of ability to tweet pictures, embedded maps, coordinates and sensor data through use of LoRa

Display of ability to tweet pictures, embedded maps, coordinates and sensor data through use of LoRa