Today, we went outside and tested the complete system and everything worked without a hitch — even with seven other teams working in parallel. (In the upcoming July workshop, 42 teams will be working in parallel!) Then it was time to dismantle the system ready for shipment back to Oregon. We even had time to visit the dinosaurs before leaving. A really great week working with great people. Many thanks to the whole MSU support team and my team colleagues for a very successful and rewarding workshop.
Today we looked at different packaging options for the payloads and managed to transmit real-time images from the still camera to the ground station. There was also lots of discussion about the kinds of experiments we could do during the balloon flight. NOAA is interested in us attaching a radiosonde underneath our payload to collect weather data during the flight and to record temperature changes during the eclipse – this has never been done before. The objectives tomorrow are to perform a complete system test and to package the system for shipment back to Oregon.
A really busy day building and testing the Iridium modem and still camera payloads and the balloon cutdown system. We successfully connected our payloads to the GPS and Iridium satellite systems and sent tracking data and cutdown commands from the payloads via satellite to the ground station computer. We had some issues sending still images but we hope a software fix will solve this problem tomorrow. The last image below shows live balloon tracking data from the eight teams participating in the workshop.
First day of a five-day training workshop at Montana State University in Bozeman. Today we started building the ground station for tracking the balloon, receiving real-time information (video, still images and telemetry data), and broadcasting the results to the NASA TV network. The system will also provide a real-time web site that enables the FAA and NASA to track the many dozens of balloons that will be inflight on eclipse day. It was an exciting day working with really cool people and some great technology.