The goal behind the BalloonSat is to give an individual (or a small group, if the students are very young) the opportunity to create an experiment for near space and then to have it sent there. The student shouldn’t be concerned with launching, tracking, or recovery. He or she should just focus on developing a great experiment that is suitable for the flight into near space.
What if the student wants to develop a fairly complex set of experiments or several students want to collaborate on the construction of a single= airframe for an array of experiments? These situations lead to a BalloonSat that’s big and heavy. Therefore, I have developed a suitable flight computer for such an Extreme BalloonSat that I’ll describe in this column and next month. Appropriately enough, the name of this flight computer is the BalloonSat Extreme.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.