Ben Nuttall, the education developer advocate for the Raspberry Pi foundation, recently posted a detailed article on opensource.com about some uses for the Sense HAT. We love it too – you can pick one up from Adafruit here!
In my first article in my series, I wrote about the Astro Pi competition, an opportunity for UK school students to have their coded experiments run in space. We’re getting closer and closer to the launch date of December 15, when British European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Tim Peake will embark on his six-month mission, Principia. He’ll be conducting scientific experiments and engaging with young people in educational outreach activities. As part of this, he’s taking up two Raspberry Pi computers in purpose-built flight cases, each with camera modules and sensor boards attached. These will be running Python programs written by the Astro Pi competition winners.
The flight case
The Raspberry Pis must be mounted using a Bogen arm on the space station, like the ones used to dock crew laptops. They also must be certified as completely safe for the Soyuz rocket, which will take it to the ISS, and then for continued use in space. The Raspberry Pi team has been working closely with the ESA and the UK Space Agency to get the flight safety certificate.
In addition to lots of testing, our work included building a bespoke case made of aerospace-grade aluminum designed with thermal considerations (convection doesn’t occur in space) and practicality in mind, and the ability for the board’s sensors to work effectively in the atmosphere. Because the case is expensive to manufacture, it won’t be available to buy, but we plan to release the 3D print files from the prototype so people can make their own. One school even built a model out of Lego.
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