The THEO-1 Mission was the first mission from your “self founded” school Space Agency.
Actually, it’s more of a school project where we went a little overboard. But probably it’s not the last mission from our school to reach the edge of space. In about 4 weeks, we completed the entire project from planning how to launch, and what sensors we need, to a successful recovery of the probe.
How did we reach space?
Probably you are asking yourself how we launched the “Spacecraft”. In Germany it’s hard to get a permit to launch about anything in to the air. To get hold of a permit to launch a small to medium rocket is nearly impossible. That’s why we had to rethink the whole mission. A mission fail wouldn’t be an option for us, we stumbled over different weather-balloons. It depends what definition for the edge of Space you use, but it is possible to launch a weather-ballon to at least the edge of Space. So we wanted to use a weather-ballon, it’s still not easy to find the right weather Balloon and calculate the right amount of helium for the Balloon.
About the project timeline
Because the project was a school project we also should learn the basics of project management. I loved this aspect of this project especially because of my qualification to initiate and plan projects. In general I loved the idea to start a new project. I thought it makes sense to use a PM Tool (Project Management Tool). We had a low budget for stuff like especially as a school project. My Teacher already got a pretty high quote for the balloon, the gas and all the sensors and cameras. I suggested to use the free and good enough PM-tool, Agantty. We created different project groups and and created a task overview.
Here the Basic Groups and their Tasks:
- Taking Photos
- Creation a Video Documentation
- Sensor engineers
- Programming the Sensor Boards
- Localizing Group
- Cellular GPS Logger
- Satellite Phone GPS Logger (for high attitude)
- Spacecraft engineers
- Design the “Spacecraft” with foam
- Put all the Sensors and Cameras at the right spot at launch
- Group for Recording the flight
- Set up 1 Go Pro with additional battery packs
- Setting up a 360deg Camera to record the flight in 360 deg.
- Marketing and documentation
- Twitter Account
- Instagram Account
- Interaction with local newspapers
What parts we used:
- Just a foam box for all the “Spacecraft” (Images)
- A spot GPS Module from SPOT
- A GPS Cellular Modell from Amazon
- Different Sensors and Dataloggers (I could go in detail but it would be to much)
- A GoPro 360 deg camera
- Simple GoPro
- A Website Hosting
- for the Live Map
- for the Website
- The Ballon
- The Gas
What I did
Actually some of us worked in multiple different groups. I helped in the organizing the project, coding the Sensors and I used the Spot API to build a live map to follow the Position of the Ballon live on your Website. Also I coded the whole website with simple HTML CSS and JS using Grunt as bundler and Gsap for some simple animations. Durring launch I used my knowledge to make the live event technology.
Here are some links about this Project: