Earlier this year, we shared about the annual Global Space Balloon Challenge project. This past week, Lawrence Leung from the project sent in this followup to this year’s event, along with a link to the gallery page (where you will find more and more amazing photos from this year’s many participants, across the world)!
52 teams from 17 different countries have successfully launched their balloons: everyone from elementary school students in the US, to high school students in Norway, to university students in Brazil, and to enthusiasts in Australia. The most exciting part has been seeing the range of skill levels of participating teams and the incredible projects built for the challenge. We only required teams to carry a GPS transmitter and a camera on their balloons – the rest was up to them. With broad challenge categories such as “best design” and “best experiment”, we saw teams come up with great ideas to overcome some of the challenges in launching and recovering a balloon, such as the uncertainty of the landing site. A number of teams proposed and prototyped new ideas to solve these problems, including a automated parachute steering mechanism to allow the balloon to land near the closest road, and a remote control plane streaming first-person perspective video to a controller on the ground. Best of all, the majority of teams used off-the-shelf electronics – things like Arduinos and Raspberry Pi’s connected to sensors, and regular cameras hacked with high capacity batteries or custom firmware. Some teams even flew Androids/iPhones/Tablets with apps to log data from the on-board sensors.
2014 is the first year of the GSBC, and we’re planning for it to be an annual event. Planning has already begun for next year’s challenge – next year we hope to attract teams from more countries and to offer more challenge categories. But if you want to capture your own great photos from near space there’s no reason why you couldn’t build and launch a balloon before then! Check out our gallery for inspiration and tutorials for every step of the build process. We’re also looking to build the ballooning community so free to ask questions on our forum or contact any of us for help!
Featured Adafruit Product!
High-altitude balloon – Skill badge, iron-on patch: “You sent something to SPACE! Almost 🙂 Adafruit offers fun and exciting “badges” of achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share. This is the “High-altitude balloon” badge for use with educators, classrooms, workshops, Maker Faires, TechShops, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces and around the world to reward beginners on their skill building journey!” (read more)