Space Camera 1

1 Aug 2010


Project Hollands Hoogte: Scientific / Educational High Altitude near-space balloon project from The Netherlands. aka “Project HoHoHo I”

Buy a balloon, put helium in. Attach a camera, and let it go, then pick it up when it lands! Sounds easy? It is! We put a GPS device in the balloon, that broadcasted its location through radiosignals so we knew where it was during flight. So we picked it up from the ijsselmeer, where it landed. It taped video and took many pictures on its journey through 32km of atmosphere. It’s result is displayed below.

First a picture!

Oh hi: it’s the provice of Friesland from 31km altitude!

Tracked it with GPS, that we picked up in the car with a radio, and got an sms from the payload when it splashed down in the middle of the ijsselmeer. Asked someone for a boat, and chased the payload, and found it, still making pictures! Hence the pictures here.. If you have Google Earth you can download this file TODO(tzaman): add KML that includes the trajectory on the earth, including thumbnails of ALL the pictures taken over north holland! It’s only 3Mb big.

Flight Statistics

Cost €250
Launch 01-08-2010 (11:35 GMT+1), Heiloo, Northern Holland (Netherlands)
Recovery 14:25
Time-to-ground ~1:52h
Float-time 58 min
Max. Altitude 31.300 meter
Weight ~1000g
Contents Sensors, Flightcomputer (x1), GPS (x2), Camera (x3)
Pictures 700 Pictures
Video 111 min + 61 min

OK Time to watch the video that sums it all up. Don’t hesitate to drop a comment! You can leave a comment at the bottom of this page, or per picture individually! Scroll down for pictures and movies!

Video: Compilation

We tracked the balloon live from the car on google maps

It splashed down in the Ijsselmeer. We just asked someone’s boat and picked it up! (see the end of the video)

These were all the GPS positions that we received from launch to splashdown (you can download this data if you scroll down)

How it works:



Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Payload Contents

Canon A720IS Videotaped for 1:30 hours
Canon A560 Took ~700 pictures in 3:00 hours
Spycam Keychain HD Videotaped 58min
Parachute Worked but tangled
Radio Radiometrix NTX2-10mW @ 434.650MHz RTTY 50b, 7n1, 350Hz shift
GPS Tyco Vinotech Sirf III (from Libelium)
GPS Falcom FSA03 (ublox)
Flightcomputer Arduino Mega (1280)
Altitude record $$TBL,328,13:05:41,52.8731,5.0361,31303,F*2E
First telemetry after release $$TBL,41,11:35:30,52.6052,4.6997,2,T*0F
Last Telemetry before crash $$TBL,395,13:26:21,52.9488,5.1544,248,F*23
Duration 60+27+25=112 minutes
Reboot after crash (first) $$TBB,2,13:27:31,52.9487,5.1555,18,T*0A
Reboot after crash (last) $$TBL,213,14:27:06,52.9455,5.1657,-4,T*1B
Float duration in water 58 minutes


More Videos…

Raw Video 10/12 (~30km)

Raw Video 2/12 (~5km)

Raw Video from the $7 spycam taped on the side

All 700 pictures stitched into a video

Sensor graphs

The formula for the Light Value in the bottom graph is from the camera. (It’s like EV but it takes ISO in account). I had absolutely no idea what exposure you need in “space”, so i set it to automatic. It turns out an EV of around 14 would be best (for instance 1/500 f5.6 ISO100).

LV=log2(Fnumber^{2}/Shutterspeed/ (ISO/100))

Some people helped tracking the balloon live with their radio’s. One of them from Schotland, 460km away picked up our GPS signals from the balloon!



Special thanks to: Wouter Dasselaar, the driver of the Pollo; Daniela for filming, Daniel Richman for helping with the code; Terry Baume and Richard Harrison for code snippets, Jon Sowman for setting the tracker; the UKHAS (UK High Altitude Society) team for advice and support and tracking/listening in; CUSF (Cambridge University Space Flight) for hosting the tracker and all that.]]>