Mexican technology in the stratosphere.

11 December, 2015/0/0
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Mexican company achieves validation of technology for a pico-satellite during a flight to the stratosphere.

On June 25, the team of Cuantum Labs in collaboration with INMEU A.C. released a meteorological balloon from the facilities of the ITESM campus SLP. The main objective of the experiment was to carry the prototype of the CanSat developed by Datiotec Aerospace in a flight to an altitude of 30km to validate the proper operation of the system and to obtain atmospheric data. Besides to the validation of the CanSat it was intended to obtain images of the earth seen from the stratosphere

The preparation

All the planning and details were reviewed during the weeks previous to the release where it was defined the objective of the mission. The selection of the date for the release was made based on the results of simulation with specialized software that calculates the possible landing spots of the CanSat. During this phase we also defined the elements that integrated the experimental package:

  • CanSat developed by Cuantum Labs
  • Camera GoPro Hero 3 – Black Edition.
  • Spot Tracker for package retrieval.
  • Camera backup battery.

The D-day

On June, 25 of the 2015 at 10 am the preparation for the release began with the participation of the different areas of Cuantum Labs and INMEU A.C.

Led by the engineers Luis Zarate and Daniel Salazar the assignation of tasks began with the definition of some details to continue then with inflation of the balloon and the integration of the experimental package.

The first attempt to release the balloon was made at approximately 11:30 am where the balloon didn’t ascend enough and fell in a terrain near the limits of the campus.

Fortunately, the balloon was retrieved without damages. The problem was immediately identified and found that a miscalculation of the quantity of helium needed to elevate the balloon was the origin the issue.

Half an hour later, the whole team was ready to proceed to the second attempt of release. This time the balloon successfully started to ascend and the first data produced in-flight by the CanSat started to be received on the computer.

As it was planed, data continued to be transmitted until the balloon reached an altitude of one and a half kilometers which is the maximum coverage of the CanSat. After that distance the date continued to be generated and stored in the momory card of the satellite.

Landing and retrieval.

 

The retrieval staff traveled by car to the village of “Villa de Arriaga” located at 30 km to the southeast of San Luis Potosi because in the proximities of the village the CanSat was expected to land thanks to the results of the simulations.

The staff stood by waiting for instructions from the telemetry room and the position of the GPS included in the experimental package to know with precision the exact spot where the satellite landed.

It was until around 2 pm that the coordinates where received indicating the exact place of landing of the CanSant. The staff moved by car to a location near the landing site to continue by foot until the side of a hill where the the localization and retrieval of the experimental package was done with the camera still recording.

Sitio de aterrizaje

On the way back to the site of Cuantum Labs, the memory card was extracted to analyze the data. The obtained data allowed us to know that the CanSat was operating until an altitude of 12 Km to then shut down due to the discharge of the battery. Nevertheless, after replacing the battery it was proved that the CanSat was perfectly operable enduring the low temperatures of the stratosphere and the fall. The experiment was considered a success and set the bases for the planning of a second experiment intended to transmit record data during the whole duration of the flight.

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