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Planning Project Horizon

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Awoken, 23 Mar 2012.

  1. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    The Helium shortage worried me at first so I did some reading. Some people talk about different grades of Helium (different purities such as Ultra High Pure, Medical Grade, Divers Helium, Welders Helium and, at the bottom of the rankings, Balloon Helium). However, reading posts by people who are in the gas business reveals that except for UHP and the very high grades, it's all the same stuff except on paper.
    Helium usually occurs in pockets of Natural Gas and is the product of radioactive decay. It is abundant in stars. The shortage seems to be the product of media panic, rising demand from emerging markets and the lack of exploration for new sources of helium. Countries which profit from their reserves are very aware that they are finite. A market with a rising price means that their finite stocks are worth more. By withholding information about the discovery of new pockets of gas the market price can be kept high with an imposed 'crisis'.

    Another consideration is that our pupils are between the ages of 15 and 18 I've got to make choices which carry the least risk. Helium is (relatively) safe to deal with. Hydrogen on the other hand is not, and would result in an insurance cost beyond our means. We were quoted £5000 for the two launches by a specialist insurer (using Helium) - thankfully our insurer covered us for free after a very comprehensive risk assessment. I don't want to know what they would charge if we were using Hydrogen.
    As we are beginners Helium seemed like the best choice but I am tempted to try Hydrogen - greater lift and cheaper cost - but it will depend on several other factors, especially insurance cost.
     
  2. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    LAUNCH! - Despite the insane weather conditions we're going to attempt to launch tomorrow. I'll be on the ground at 8am to check weather conditions. If all goes to plan we should have a live video stream online by 9:30am (so you can see the preparations and launch) and be launching at 10am. There will be a live, online tracking map so that you can follow Horizon's progress through the atmosphere - the link will be on our website's front page.
    Follow @horizonqmgs on twitter for all the latest news.
    Wish us luck!
     
  3. alpaca

    alpaca llama eats dremel

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    Good Luck! I'll be popping in for the live stream tomorrow. (if I get out of bed)
     
  4. alpaca

    alpaca llama eats dremel

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    "LAUNCH CANCELLED: Due to significant snowfall across the entire flight path and already strengthening winds a launch will not be possible."

    Aw damn.
     
  5. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    LAUNCH CANCELLED: Due to significant snowfall across the whole flight path and steadily strengthening winds it will be impossible to launch or recover the project.

    The two good pieces of news are:
    1) I have had an email from a reporter in Reading to say that a member of the general public has been in touch who thinks they may have found Horizon 1 - we're waiting for news.
    2) Dr Massey from Durham Universities Physics Department has been in touch to congratulate the school on the project. The whole team was very proud of this.

    We're trying to arrange a new launch date that won't impact on examinations as the team is drawn from examination years (Year 11 and Sixth Form).
     
  6. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    We're back, with a new launch date!
    We're planning to launch on Sunday 30th June 2013. There are just 26 days until the launch and we've got a lot to do. There will be equipment checks of all systems over the next couple of weeks. A camera housing will be constructed for the main camera. Reminders will be sent to all those involved in the launch. A last look will be taken at the Sensor Array in the hope that it can be made functional by the launch and the hunt for a suitable minibus will continue. I'll keep this page up to date with the latest news (all in the first few posts).

    With a lot of the build finished we'll also be looking into adding a 'How it was made...' section to the Horizon website with details of our resources, equipment and code.
     
  7. alpaca

    alpaca llama eats dremel

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    Nice to hear this is not dead.
    So, did you ever recover the first balloon?
     
  8. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Any chances of adding a "chav camera" for possible retrieval insurance?
     
  9. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    We did get a phone call from a reporter who thought that a member of the public had found our first project, but when they sent out a photographer to check it out it turned out to just be a plastic bag. I tried not to laugh too hard when they told me this.
    We'd love to get Horizon 1 back but I think it's been broken up and moved.
    Horizon 2 has a number of as yet 'undocumented security features' which range from the obvious to the faintly sadistic and remote controlled :) I can't say anything more than that, but we're fairly confident of getting it back now that we can track it to an accuracy of 3m.

    At present I'm trying to get all of my end of year reports done so I can help with the sensor array which needs revival.
     
  10. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    The first landing predictions are in for Sunday's flight and we've overcome one of the barriers to success with the Sensor Array.
     
  11. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Good news.:D -Though "faintly sadistic" is still making my curiosity itch...
     
  12. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    @Cheapskate: Sorry, you'll have to remain in the dark, even my team don't know the extent of what I have done. Needless to say that all items in the payload can be independently checked and the phone is rooted and loaded with counter measures. I just hope we don't need any of it.

    New updates: Fresh predictions for the flight path and weather on the day are up.
    I'll be working on the sensor array tomorrow but tonight I'm checking the radio transmitter.

    We launch Sunday 30th June (This Sunday) at 10am.
    There will be a live video feed of the launch from ~9:30am on the Horizon website.
    The live tracking page will follow Horizon 2's flight from launch to landing.
    Follow all our updates on the day on twitter.

    If it is all a success we'll have some great photography and maybe even an HD movie to share by next week!
    Wish us luck!
     
    Last edited: 28 Jun 2013
  13. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    Sunday's launch failed due to a number of technical issues and we're planning a relaunch at 10am on Saturday 6th July. See details of this and other news in the first few comments.
     
  14. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    I've updated the main post with all the predictions (I got a bit behind this week with all of the work at School) and our latest bit of news regarding the camera.

    Late night kit test - We've just checked over and tested the Radio Tracker, smartphone tracker, Camera Script, Go Pro and radio. All are functioning well and we've plenty of batteries for tomorrow. All we need now is for the wind to blow us well south of Birmingham. Wish us luck!
     
  15. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    Launch will be later than planned because the projected landing zone until then is Birmingham. Possibly ~3pm at present.
     
  16. magnetobob

    magnetobob New Member

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    wow..good luck and great work Im glad to see there a lot more motivate individuals in other schools and there not the disappoints i have experienced however do understand they probably want to do more but cant.However electronics has been pretty much removed from our syllabus.

    cant wait to see the results
     
  17. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    Horizon 2 launched and recovered successfully today. 32GB HD Video recorded by onboard GoPro Video Camera. 32GB of photos taken by onboard camera. 8GB Video recorded during the day. All the equipment worked really well. I'll post a report tomorrow and a few photos but please be patient with video as I have zero knowledge/skill in this department and we have 40GB of raw footage (some 720p and some 1080p).
     
  18. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    Launch report for Saturday up in the main post along with some new footage.
     
  19. PeteA

    PeteA New Member

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    Glad to hear it went well this time around!! :thumb:
     
  20. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    It's been a busy week! We finished putting the 'press packs' together - a dropbox full of videos and photos from the project. I've written to all of the local papers, radio and tv in the Walsall area and to our media contacts in Berkshire and Reading who helped with the hunt for Horizon 1. We also sent photos and video to the tourist boards for Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire as they were all in the footage.
    One of the crew is working on a video summary of the whole project - BIG JOB! - which we'll send out to everyone who took part, along with print photos (in frames if I can afford it!). That way everyone has a little something to remember this all by. Several of my team have been stopping by during the week for a chat before they set out on summer hols and then off to uni. It has been a real rush for those who are leaving this year as they are setting out for university having left an incredible legacy at the school.

    Having taken care of all of that I thought I'd post the video of the flight highlights in the main thread here. Watch in 1080p for the most breath-taking results (use your standard youtube downloader if you're struggling with connection speed).

    Thank you all for your support!

    I'm hoping to revive the project in the next school year with a new team and a new goal: BEAT FELIX!
    We'll be aiming to fly higher than Felix Baumgartner (40km). We may even try to take a video from that height. I'm on the look out for sponsors already and I'll be putting together a budget over the summer as well as spending some quality time with my family. I'll post any developments here. Thanks for following our adventure!
     

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