The High Altitude Balloon project pursues a wide range of objectives, the common feature of all being the strive to reach altitudes termed as “near space”, so as to conduct experiments and research in conditions that are closely akin to those in space. Up to date, the totality of the experiments and missions that have flown a UPCSP HAB have been student-led, which makes this mission a very valuable platform for the student community to bring their endeavors to the stratosphere.
A HAB mission relies on a simple yet very important foundation: Archimedes’ Principle. A large weather balloon is filled with helium gas and a payload is attached to it. Following the cited principle, the payload reaches altitudes as high as 100.000 feet. However, the simplicity of the propulsion method yields other difficulties that must be dealt with, such as the communication with the balloon and its recovery.
On account of this, regardless of the nature of the payload a HAB carries, it necessarily bears a self-developed telemetry module to send the data gathered and track the flight, along with as much as two parachutes, each with its own deployment system, to allow the recovery of the modules.
The telemetry module includes Iridium Satellite Communications Technology and LoRa Technology, which provide network redundancy to each other in the event of failure of either. Each of the tracking and communication systems are run by self-designed codes and custom-made motherboards, which are used to track the three-dimensional position of the mission every few seconds. Among other electronics, the module also features barometric and temperature sensors, all powered by a power supply unit.
In order to stand the harsh conditions found in the stratosphere and a possible rough landing, our structural design team provides both the payload and the telemetry module of every mission with sterling insulation and a sturdy casing.
Currently, the main focus of our team is to participate in the Global Space Balloon Challenge 2019, the world’s largest high altitude ballooning event, where teams around the world launch simultaneously and compete for the Best Mission Design and Best Experiment prizes. The team should be able to design a mission where the flight and landing are thoroughly controlled and accord with the predictions, alongside with the failsafe systems that ensure the mission runs smoothly and a breakthrough experiment, the conditions of which need to be those of the stratosphere.
Not least of all, UPCSP HAB team is constantly learning new skills and improving its skills and efforts as a team, aiming to outdo itself on every launch.