A year ago, while browsing the internet we came across an agency which sent small student projects stuffed inside a ping pong ball to the edge of the space! Sky is the limit is what we have always believed in...hence our interest was stirred. We further probed into this cool concept of sending things up to this much high altitude.
Our search led us to 'Balloon-Satellites' and myriad types of payloads connected to it. A video we once saw featured an I-Phone suspended to a free flying balloon and released in air! The I-Phone was sending real time data to the receiving station till the time the balloon floated in air.
‘Balloon-Sat’ the word itself conveys its meaning. Putting it into more simpler terms, a balloon-sat is a balloon suspended to a payload and released into the atmosphere. While the balloon will float in air, the payload does its assigned job.
To start off with, a simple payload of weather monitoring system on balloon seemed great. During our visit to IMD- Colaba, RSRW-Vileparle and TIFR Hyderabad, we got to know more about weather balloons, high altitude balloons, and the weather monitoring sensors used in them. We decided to go with weather monitoring payload for our first balloon experiment.
Our main objective was to test the communication link. Our primary test was done by interfacing the temperature, humidity, GPS and pressure sensors with Arduino board and observing the data patterns.
During our research period,we thought of adding another objective to our system- measuring the pollution levels in the lower atmosphere. Pollution measurement is done by measuring the ozone content in the atmosphere for which a device 'Ozonesonde' is used.
The team is now currently working on this weather monitoring balloon-Sat which would have temperature, pressure, humidity, GPS and ozone measurement as its payload. We have named our first balloon experiment as APSAHRA –1. Something very high and beautiful!
Our passion and perseverance brought us a long way with this Balloon-Sat! The team is learning and exploring something new at each and every step. Looking forward to share our knowledge and some interactive inputs from our readers.
Atharva College Of Engineering