Monthly Archives: February 2013

BLEAT Update

A meeting was held last week to make plans for the next BLEAT launch.

Undoubtedly, our biggest hurdle will be securing funding for this launch. UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences (ENV) and Interdisciplinary Research Society jointly bankrolled our last launch, and ENV will be the first port of call for financial assistance this time around, but initial discussions with members of faculty seem to suggest a more difficult funding environment this year.

Our launch window will hopefully be May to June. It’s warmer, brighter and the jet stream is less intense than in December, hopefully allowing for an easier launch and recovery effort.

Launch hardware:

As the payload of Launch 000 remains unclaimed in a field in Hertfordshire somewhere, we’ll need a complete rebuild of the launch platform.

Sam is going to construct a more bespoke box to reduce weight and wasted space.

  • HD Camera
  • GPS/GSM Tracking Device – sends latitude & longitude to an accuracy of 5 meters via text message to any mobile phone on request.
  • Cheap/used Android phone – using a tracking app to log landing location, possible dual-purpose as additional camera.
  • Raspberry Pi – with a bit of skilled electrical engineering, as shown here, we may be able to use the Pi to transmit live images back to Earth via webcam.
  • Radiosonde
  • A science package of some sort. Algae/phytoplankton/seed viability tests were mentioned a few times, and seems to be a good low-cost option.

Outreach activities:

Outreach and coverage of this launch will be integral to ensuring a strong case for financial support. Some ideas covered at the meet were:

  • (Somehow) aligning the launch with UEA’s 50th Anniversary. Attaining 50km is unlikely, but 50hPa (approximately 21 km) could be done.
  • Mascot competition for primary school-aged children organised through STEM programme.
  • UEA PGR Showcase at the Forum may be a good opportunity to increase public awareness of the project.
  • Space food – including marshmallows or ‘space dust’ sweets would add a novelty element.

We’ll endeavour to keep our blog and twitter feed updated throughout the build.