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speedball1 SpeedBall Transatlantic Balloon at Maker Faire Detroit

One of my favorite hackerspace projects is the insanely cool and utterly ambitious White Star project which aims to float a weather balloon from the U.S. to Europe across the Atlantic Jet Stream. And they’re showing off their ‘leetness at Maker Faire Detroit!

Take it to Detroit! LVL1 Hackerspace’s White Star Balloon team is going to be showing off the SpeedBall balloon system at MakerFaire Detroit, July 30 & 31 at The Henry Ford museum. We’re super excited to be a part of this great exhibition of doers and makers! We’ll have the full SpeedBall-1 Trans-Atlantic robot payload (and possibly the balloon) on static display for you to get an up-close peek at what it takes to make a 3-day airship tick.

SpeedBall-2 is slated to make its public flight debut at the MakerFaire as a lean-mean indoor flying machine. It’ll be stripped down to the bare necessities required to control it’s altitude – arguably the most important innovation of the whole program. Consisting of the classic SNOX Ballast bottle, the Flight Computer, the Comm Controller, and the Ballast Controller, the load frame and a small 12v pack of AA batteries, SB-2 will hang from a small custom plastic balloon.

Guided by a vertical cable to keep it from wandering around the museum, SB-2’s balloon it will have a calibrated leak, causing it to slowly sink down, a high-speed simulation of helium loss over a 3-day air voyage. This will allow you to see the prowess of the ballast system and control algorithm, as it manages ascents, descents, and altitude holds, fully autonomously – look ma, no wires!

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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