White Star Balloon Meeting Notes

September 15, 2011

Welcome to Season 2!

Last left off with broken antenna and code that flopped

Quad helix antenna needs optimization

  • Work in June & July made headway
  • We need to hack the antenna, add some wire, tune it
  • Antenna tuner available to use
  • Longer wire of current antenna needs to be tuned to 137Mhz (High side 149MHz)
  • Need some cable connectors, SMA-male to connector with antenna

Stan the stand may need some love

  • Perhaps build a new stand

Speedball-1 needs to be re-commissioned

  • Flight software check
  • Need shortwave transmitter & antenna
  • From Spaceport, IN or 2.0 from original source
  • Possible to hang radio off the ballast bottle
  • Needed to stop RF interference
  • Remember, antenna line needs to be lengthened
  • Ballast bottle still exists
  • Need to check the ground equipment


  • Long way from flight ready
  • Flight computer needs to be built fully
  • Surface mount soldering required
  • Comm controller is complete
  • Other electronics needs to be built
  • Dry ballast system needs to be saved for local tests
  • GPS simulator needs to be recovered & stored for future simulations
  • Thermal box already built
  • Cloud sensor, riggings, etc. need to be built.
  • Easy stuff because Speedball-1 can be used as a reference 


  • Are ballast software tweaks good for actual flight? Need to be tested
  • A few flaws and limitations were found with the code during software testing.
  • Will have a meeting dedicated to this

Goal is to knock out the Speedball-1 & Speedball-2 quickly and then design new balloon

State of the Envelope Address

  • Originally had 5 balloons made
  • One balloon damaged in testing – minor damage, but not flyable
  • All seams are highly suspect in all balloons
  • Probably should get rid of ducts in envelopes and replace with Japanese discs
  • Need high airflow output, but needs to be stopped when not in use

Software for satellites needs to be fixed

  • May need a new chip for the comm controller FIO.
  • New board that’s not a FIO may need to be designed

Mission control servers need to be reinstated.


  • Brad did web support, mission control
  • Bill did simulation systems, email translation,
  • Tyler did weather forecasting
  • Dan did comm controller code

Data infrastructure

  • Need a more cohesive system for information.
  • 6 servers currently that should be consolidated
  • Should we rebuild those? Or bite the bullet?
  • Bring the old system back online.
  • Don’t make changes yet.
  • When we get free time, rebuild it from scratch.

Current website

  • Website is functional and fine
  • Public balloon tracking software is not there.
  • Map API is fine.
  • Speed gage, etc.
  • Data is not getting out!
  • Mission control could benefit from this.


  • Brain dump needs less dump
  • Logical arrangement needs to be updated

Super Pressure Balloon

  • Solar powered electronics need to be developed
  • A lot more experimentation is expected
  • Sleeping code to conserve energy needs to be developed
  • Extremely lightweight
  • GHOST balloon program from 1967 shown and discussed, an astounding example

Supplies need to be organized

Shelves are being purchased and stuff moved

agendas/20110915.txt · Last modified: 2018/07/29 17:58 (external edit)
Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Recent changes RSS feed Donate Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki