ArduSat Balloon Launch (joined by Sparkfun!)

This isn't directly applicable to autopilots, but there was some interest from this community in the ArduSat effort, so here goes... On October 27th, the EDGE Research Laboratory team launched and successfully recovered the ArduSat prototype system.  It was a huge thrill for us to get to work with the team at NanoSatisfi, and help achieve their goal of making space research affordable for everyone.  As soon as they post their data analysis, I'll link to it here, but the good news is that the ArduSat payload appeared to work beautifully.  Below is a picture that was taken, processed, and stored by the ArduSat system:

Recovery was not as easy as might have been desired, as the payload was nearly 2 miles from the nearest road and in a small depression that served to reflect and/or attenuate our tracking signals to the point that they were useless to our chase teams.  We were, however, able to call in our airborne team to get a lock on the final location and confirm that everything was recoverable on the ground.  There really was nothing out there, but we managed to get permission to recover anyway.  It was a 25-minute hike one way...

Fortunately, we did get it all back, and had a good time doing it.  We've posted a full write-up about this flight on our website at, if you're interested, and have a pretty comprehensive set of information on getting started here:  Of course, if there are questions, we're more than happy to help.

But there's more... remember that second balloon you saw in the video above?

(Photo courtesy

We were joined at our launch site by a team from Sparkfun (also an ArduSat sponsor) for a dual balloon launch!  Even more exciting, their balloon hit more than 130,000 feet before it burst, putting it in among the top 20 highest amateur radio high-altitude balloons.  It was awesome to get to launch two balloons from the same site, and fantastic to be involved with such a lofty flight!  More details on the Sparkfun flight can be found here: 

Views: 1673

Comment by John on November 3, 2012 at 6:29am

Wow! Very nice!

Comment by Jonek on November 3, 2012 at 7:42am

Why did you need to get permission for recovery? Permission to what?

Comment by EDGE Research Lab on November 3, 2012 at 9:20am

Because we landed on private property, we needed to get permission to enter the field to recover the payload.  This was slightly more difficult than usual, given that the farmhouse where we had to go to get permission was over 5 miles from the payload's landing site.

Comment by Dany Thivierge on November 4, 2012 at 6:53am

Nicely done guys!  You may want to correct a typo in the first paragraph, it's not November 27th but October 27th! 

Nice pictures!  

Monroe, where is yours now?  ;) friendly competition is always nice! 

Comment by EDGE Research Lab on November 4, 2012 at 8:26am

Thanks for the heads up - it's been fixed!

Comment by EDGE Research Lab on November 16, 2012 at 8:37am

Here's a writeup from Jeroen, the ArduSat engineer that joined us for the launch.  Included in the discussion are some good results from the ArduSat payload:


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