Cool amateur UAV effort to film the last Shuttle launch from high altitude

An amateur/educational group called Quest For Stars plans to lift a glider to the edge of space with a balloon to film the last Space Shuttle launch. In future flights, the glider will be then released and navigate home, broadcasting FPV video the whole way. It appears that they're using standard Eagletree and Rangevideo gear, including the basic Rangevideo return-to-home autopilot.

 

Here's their description of the project:

Everything minus the airframe and ballistic recovery failsafe will fly on our July 8th launch. We have designed a ballistic recovery method to return our UAV to FAR 101 parachute flight as a failsafe.

Our July 8th flight will TX 1.2GHZ FPV down from the heavens live during the launch of Atlantis STS-135. Anyone within RX range will be able to see what our nearsat will see. We are trying to get eagletree and rangevideo to provide additional demo gear that we can loan to the local news media so they have a feed for rebroadcast. On that same note, we are also looking for local FLA volunteers to recieve and stream the video over the internet via ustream. That way you all can watch FPV history live as we see the SpaceShuttle zoom by! 

You can follow them on Facebook here.

Views: 465

Comment by Ritchie on June 17, 2011 at 5:02pm
Awesome.
Comment by Cliff-E on June 17, 2011 at 6:57pm
Nice, but when they said Video in HD, I got skeptical. Even analog 1.2GHZ isn't going to cut it at those distances. Also GoPro's 960p (don't even try 1080) *live out* is especially laggy/blocky when the camera is moving. 480p, OK that's more do-able.

Still great ideas, great challenge. Will we just see a trail of smoke, a flash through the image plane, or a great action shot?
Comment by Stan Underhill on June 17, 2011 at 6:58pm
Very nice.
Comment by Greg Fletcher on June 17, 2011 at 7:39pm
It will be very cool if the FAA doesn't shut them down. NASA is OK with it as they are far enough away as to not be a threat to the shuttle. In a subsequent post he describes the glider and it is using an Ardupilot. Thermopiles would work great at hi altitude. Didn't say if it was thermos or IMU. If he upgraded to a APMega he could use both. The extra analog inputs could be used. I plan on trying this, but haven't had the time to modify the code.
Comment by Jack Crossfire on June 18, 2011 at 2:40am
If only the guy would upload the videos promptly, instead of waiting for silly conventions.

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