It’s Pi Approximation Day – Anyone want to Launch a Raspberry Pi into Space with Us?

The date is 22/7, or Pi Approximation Day, so it’s a good day to announce Northern Ireland’s very own charitable space programme, and start work on sending a Raspberry Pi into space. We’ve picked this project deliberately because it will require people with a wide range of skills and interests to collaborate, hopefully uniting our technology community… and because SPACE.

The plan is to attach a Raspberry Pi to a weather balloon and track its progress as it travels into the stratosphere and, hopefully, returns safely to Earth. Photos, videos and measurements will be taken on the journey, and for the next few weeks it’s open season on any crazy stunts people want the craft to perform while it’s up there. “There” being SPACE.

This kind of thing has been done before, typically using a smartphone for GPS and GoPro for video, so we’re going to have to make use of the Pi’s computing power to do something unique. This might as well be a world-first, no point aiming lower.

The thinking behind this is that we have this community of geeks who are all keen to build things together, the trouble is choosing what projects to get stuck into. So we’ve proposed a challenge that needs the collaboration of loads of people from different backgrounds – electronics, mechanics, software, communications, legal & admin, all sorts. It’s something everyone could contribute to.

We met yesterday to assign teams to cover each of the main disciplines that will be required (Mechanical, Electrical, Management, and Marketing/PR). The teams are seeking help, not just from Farset Labs members but anyone who is keen to support the project. Details such as the launch date and the craft’s functions are open for discussion for the time-being and all ideas are welcome, within reason. Already some suggestions have been assigned to the bin, mostly because they’ve involved live animals or explosives – or both.

Notes from the first meeting are in GDocs, here. More details soon. For the meantime, err, SPACE.

(image courtesy of Sweetie187 on Flickr)