What We've Been Up to...

Video Prototype



On the 4th of February, the Colorado Eclipse Team met to work on a new design for the Live Video Payload. A rough design (pictured above) was our starting point as we worked to position and balance the components of the Video Payload in a small insulated package. While we were working, the printer was hard at work producing spare 3D printed parts for use as backups in the event of part failures. In addition, we are working to integrate a power management system into both the Still and Video Payloads to prevent loss of data. We will be using SparkFuns LiPo Fuel Gauge to keep tabs on our batteries during flight and, if necessary, perform a "graceful shutdown" in the event of a battery failure.


On the 4th of March, the Colorado Eclipse Team continued working towards the completion of the L.V.P. The final design had to be enlarged by 4% to accommodate for insulation requirements. The L.V.P has a final dimension of 13x13x26 cm and a mass near 850 grams. The exterior Pi Camera housing was also redesigned to allow mounting of the housing directly to the structure of the payload. The L.I.T.P. was "refreshed" after prolonged storage. This included replacing flight hardware, examining operation of O.C.C.A.M.S, performing scheduled maintenance on the LiPo battery, and inspecting the structure for damage. This marked the completion of the L.I.T.P. Design and prototyping of the S.I.P began and we are working out the best methods to pass a flight tube through the ground plate of the transmission system without compromising signal integrity. We have selected components for a sensor package that will fly with the L.V.P that will not only log environmental conditions for later review but will also allow us to access this data live on the ground.

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On the 11th of March, the Colorado eclipse team completed work on the L.V.P. marking an important step towards completing a milestone. We also continued our work with the S.I.P. which is nearing completion as well. Once all three systems have been completed and tested, integration of a new tracking system will begin. This tracking system will allow us to receive payload position updates every 5 seconds which could improve signal quality from the L.V.P. The Colorado eclipse team was joined by two students from Arapahoe Community College (David Colclazier and Maggie Franchois) who will continue to shadow and learn about the systems and provide support moving forward. This will allow multiple system specialists to be available in the event a team member becomes indisposed. This will also increase our ability to complete new milestones regarding the testing and integration of software and hardware improvements. T-23 Weeks!

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On the 18th of March, the Eclipse team meet to complete a couple milestones. Testing of the L.V.P. to verify operation was completed which meant we could begin to add a sensor package to it. This will allow conditions to be measured and transmitted live down to the ground while also saving the data to the onboard SD card for later retrieval.  The sensors that we have decided to use included the BNO055 which will track how the payload is moving as it ascends, the BME280 which will track the altitude, humidity and payload temperature, and the DS18B20 which will monitor the temperature outside of the payload. More sensors will be added as we come up with ideas. If you (the reader) have an awesome suggestion of a sensor we should add, please send the suggestion to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will see if we can fly them on the LVP during the Eclipse!  The S.I.P is now complete and has received a replacement DS3231 RTC (Real Time Clock) that has a replaceable battery. This will allow us to keep the correct time running to time stamp our photos even when the payload has its power removed for storage. We ran out of time to test the S.I.P so this will have to wait until next weeks meeting. T-22 Weeks!

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On the 8th of April, we had our second test launch scheduled. Unfortunately due to high overcast, the L.V.P. and S.I.P. were scrubbed for the day. Even though we didn’t get any flight time, our rigorous testing proved that the L.V.P., S.I.P. and L.T.P. are all ready to fly during our May flight! The I.T.P. (being the lightest) was able to fly with CU Boulders Gateway to Space class. The I.T.P. performed nominally and was tracked by the ground station for a short amount of time. We started to experience some bugs that would aim the ground station in the oppositee direction of the I.T.P. While the I.T.P was in flight, we decided to perform a full systems test by activating the L.V.P. and the S.I.P. The L.V.P. Performed flawlessly as it streamed both live video and telemetry data back to the ground station. The S.I.P. saved pictures but we were unable to communicate with it using the RFD thus were unable to stream pictures through the ground station. Al said and done, we have proven that our payloads are structurally sound to fly and we have identified several bugs that we will be working out over the next couple of weeks in preparation for the next test flight. T-18 Weeks!

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