Introducing AllAloft – The [to be] Complete Iridium-based High-Altitude Balloon System

Perhaps you’ve been reading some of my recent, and not so recent (January 2013) posts about Iridium.  Am I beginning to sound like a broken record?  Well, my excuse is that I am finally getting around to helping the California Near Space Project with their Iridium-based balloon payload.  In this process, we made the decision to open source a portion of our work to help other people build and launch their own balloons with two-way comms.  This project aims to supply a ready-to-run application for both the ground station and the balloon payload, that provide an easy way for users to track and control their balloon.  Some high-level features to expect:

  • Automatic position reporting with settable intervals, and on-demand updates
  • A common set of commands to control GPIO for functions like ballast cut down, triggering a camera, etc.
  • More commands to read ADCs, a suite of sensors, etc.
  • Interfaces to positioning servers like APRS.IS
  • Automatic updates on social media (Facebook, Twitter) so everyone can follow the balloon you worked so hard on!
  • Most importantly: This will provide an infrastructure for people to automatically add their own, custom functionality in an end-to-end system.

This is a work in progress, but I do expect rapid progress.

It’s late and I’m tired.   But those of you who are interested can find some basic code that will send and receive Iridium messages through an Email server.  More to come soon!

Please shoot me an email if there are any features you’d be interested in seeing or you might like to help out!