The Electronics Behind Our Projects
We send our capsules to the edge of space in weather balloons. But how can we find out how high our balloon flew, its speed, or where it popped? The answer is simple: micro-controllers.
What is a micro-controller?
A micro-controller is essentially a computer stored within a small board. These boards, of course, are nowhere near as powerful as a desktop that someone keeps in their house. When it comes to storing information and gathering data in environments where being lightweight is essential, these little boards are perfect for the job.
June Sky’s Fleet of Micro-Contorollers and Sensors
June Sky owns three Arduinos– Two Arduino Unos and an Arduino Nano. The Unos are used in larger projects like our HAT capsules, and the Nano is used for projects where space is also a constraint, like our PLA Falcon.
These two Freakduinos are the most recent additions to our fleet. They are essentially Arduinos with built in wireless transmission. We will soon be testing & incorporating these micro-controllers into our current and future projects.
A PerfectFlite StratoLogger was one of the first micro-controller chips that we acquired. It’s designed to record and store data, and then deploy a parachute upon reaching apogee. This is a chip designed for rocketry.
June Sky owns three barometers. These are used for altitude calculation on all of our projects.
Our two Xbees are used for data transmission. Combined with an Arduino Uno, the pair has the same function as a Freakduino. While the Xbees give us a longer range, they carry the burden of a 10% duty cycle (Meaning that they cannot be used for more than 6 minutes in an hour), which makes it less useful for projects where constant data transmission is necessary.
June Sky owns two servos. They plug into an Arduino or Freakduino, and work well.
We carry two Raspberry Pi modules. These micro-controllers give us a much wider spectrum of opportunities, giving us the ability to use them in situations where an Arduino would not suffice. There are two models of the Raspberry Pi shown, the model A on the left and the model B on the right.
To conclude our list of sensors, June Sky carries three Arduino Shields. The two outside ones are identical- Providing the ability for us to log data to SD cards. The middle shield is a GPS. It is able to connect to satellites, giving us accurate readings of our coordinates and altitude.
Co-Founder and Chief of Micro-controller Technology & Communications