Lots of tests have been done for sending mobile devices to the space. From helium balloons to hurls made by the NASA or even Lego devices. But this is the first time there is one with a Raspberry Pi. It was also kind of special because the images were sent in real time during the rising of the device to the statosfere.
Dave Akerman is the enterprising who decided to do this great feat. Sending a Raspberry Pi to less than 40 km of altitude and obtaining some amazing pictures of our planet with the embeded camera and also transmiting themin real time.
The firmware of the camera was updated and modified for taking three different kind of pictures each minute (one of small size and another of medium size to be sent through the radio connection adn another one of big size to be stored on the SD card of the device). The battery of the device was also changed to make it last during the trip. Once the weather conditions were the appropiate and with the permission of the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) the device was sent with a hydrogen balloon to reach the target of 40 km of altitude.
Smaller image sent from the radio channel
On the following three hours of rising Dave Akerman as well as other people in North Ireland, France and Holland who had the radio frequency of the device enjoyed the real time images received from the device.
The time and the landing place were known and Dave went out to get his Raspberry Pi, but unfortunately the estimation was not precise. The throw was made two hours later than expected and the wind that appeared modified the path followed by the Raspberry Pi. As some of you know the Raspberry Pi does not have a GPS receiver, so its location is more complicated, in this case it was used the strength of the radio signal received.
Medium quality image sent by the device
The calculations for estimating the path the balloon would follow were useless because of the wind. Thanks to having his mobile phone into the device, and just when Dave Akerman thought he had lost it, someone called asking if he had lost a balloon with a raspberry hanging on it.Thanks to this, the experiment end happily and we can see the images that were on the SD card.