Simulated Flight Plan


This is a screenshot of a 3D path of the simulated balloon trajectory had we launched the balloon today. The flight path is visualized with Google Earth and overlaid on the latest Nav Canada aeronautical chart.

In this simulation, we would be launching our payload near Goderich, ON. The payload would travel a lateral distance of 104 km and land a few kilometers north of Hopeville, ON. I’ve added the aeronautical chart to this view to ensure that we’re not crossing any major airways at altitudes that may interfere with commercial air traffic.

During the summer, we will compile a report every morning with a projected path such as the one seen above along with other important information such as local weather and cloud coverage (so we can get awesome pictures). If everything looks good, we’re off to the trucks for the launch!

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Colibri Board Bring-up

The first phase of the Colibri board bring-up has begun!

Just tonight I was able to connect to the board with ActiveSync and Visual Studio 2008 and run a sample application that was pulsing a GPIO every second. With a multimeter I was able to watch the line go from low to high repeatedly.

Also, although I did not need it for this occasion, I did get a chance to verify that the remote debugger works, and it works very well!

Not too much to show, but I’d thought I’d give some update on the progress in the form of a YouTube video ;-) I apologize for the poor quality of the recording:

Now… it’s time to study for exams! More updates as we go!

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Flight Computer

The flight computer arrived a few days ago – and we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Colibri PXA320 System Module Orchid Development Board

The unit on the left is our Colibri PXA320 system module – essentially the “brains” of the entire system. On the right is our development board which will come in handy for early development work.

We’ll throw out a salute to Toradex for making some seriously cool embedded hardware – they’re definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a powerful system-on-module in a convenient SODIMM form factor.

Stay tuned for more pictures, including some shots of our shiny new long-range UHF development kit that just arrived.

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First Hardware Order

Time for a technical post – we thought you might want a change of pace from all the documents and presentations. :)

The first components – our flight computer and development carrier board – have just been ordered from Toradex AG in Germany. We’re using the Marvell/Intel XScale PXA320 embedded processor (which has low power consumption and can handle temperatures down to -45 degrees) that comes on a convenient SODIMM module. The idea is to plug the CPU module into the development board, get our development environment up and running, and start working on the in-flight software. At the same time, we’ll be designing our own custom board to interface with all the onboard sensors and components. Once it comes back from the circuit board fabricator, we’ll detach the CPU module, snap it on to our custom board, and we’ll be ready to roll.

Special thanks go to WEEF for their support in funding this purchase, and we’ll keep you updated when more components arrive.

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Proposal Presentation

FYDP Proposal Presentation

Our fourth-year design project proposal presentation was an overall success today even taken into consideration of a few scheduling and technology mishaps. We are posting the presentation slides here for those who couldn’t make it out today. To reduce the file size, I have taken out our very inspiring multimedia presentations, which I’d like to think of as value-added bonus for those who were in the audience this morning.

Proposal Presentation – [PDF]


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System Requirements Specification

Project IRIS Project SpecificationThe long awaited Project IRIS System Requirements Specification has been delivered electronically today. We have worked diligently in elicitating the requirements and constraints of the enormous project that we are about to take on.

This 58-page long document will tell you more than you need to know about the project along with some guidelines for students who wish to repeat this endeavor and to improve upon this project in the future.

Project IRIS SyRS – [PDF download]

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IRIS I Concept Preview


Here’s a small preview to our IRIS I assembly, which is the payload that will be traveling up to the lower stratosphere with our electronics components.

If you want to see the full design, you’ll have to come to our FYDP proposal presentation in RCH 105 at 8:30 AM on March 23rd, 2009!


WEEF Presentation

Our team have just made a presentation to the WEEF funding committee earlier this evening. We are hoping to include WEEF to our growing portfolio of sponsoring corporations and organizations to fund our pricey project. :o)

You can view a copy of slides at the link below.

WEEF Funding Proposal – PowerPoint Presentation

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