New software to get you started with high-altitude ballooning

Right now, we’re working on an online project pathway to support you with all your high-altitude balloon (HAB) flight activities, whether you run them with students or as a hobby. We’ll release the resources later in the year, but in the meantime we have some exciting new HAB software to share with you! Skycademy and early HAB software Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to conduct several high-altitude balloon (HAB) flights and to help educators who wanted to do HAB projects with learners. In the Foundation’s Skycademy programme, supported by UKHAS members, in particular Dave Akerman , we’ve trained more than 50 teachers to successfully launch near-space missions with their students


Skycademy 2016

Over the next three days, we have 30 educators arriving at Pi Towers to learn how to build, launch, and track a High Altitude Balloon (HAB). For the uninitiated, Skycademy 2016 is our second CPD event which provides experience of launching balloons to educators, showing them how this can be used for an inspiring, project-based learning experience. This is my first year preparing for Skycademy, and it has been a steep but worthwhile learning curve


Skycademy – Free High Altitude CPD

We’re looking for 24 teachers (or youth leaders) to take part in a FREE two-and-a-half day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event aiming to provide experience of high altitude ballooning to educators, and demonstrating how it can be used as an engaging teaching opportunity. Over the last few year I’ve seen many awesome uses of the Raspberry Pi, but one of my favourites by far is seeing the Pi used as a payload tracker for High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) projects. One of the most prolific HAB enthusiasts is Dave Akerman, who has launched many flights using the Raspberry Pi, from the first flight back in 2012 … …to the launch of a potato for Heston Blumenthal’s “Great British Food”… …and even capturing some amazing images of the recent Solar Eclipse from 30km up


First Pi in space

Recently you may have seen some of the awesome things that Dave Akerman has been doing with Raspberry Pi and Balloons . For the eclipse he was able to capture this image from his high altitude payload. Dave who’s been doing high altitude flights for some time has racked up some pretty impressive bragging rights including the first Raspberry Pi (B, A and A+) in near space


Babbage’s big jump: the aftermath

If you were following the live feed and our live tweets on Saturday, you’ll know that Babbage the bear’s attempt to beat Felix Baumgartner’s stratospheric parachute jump with a couple of Raspberry Pis was a bit of a curate’s egg . It was a very blustery, cloudy day at the launch site, and while Babbage made it into the stratosphere ( beating the world record – also held by Dave Akerman , who was behind this weekend’s launches – for highest pictures transmitted live from an amateur device), he did not separate from his platform properly, so rather than leaping into the void, he plummeted, platform and all, when the balloon burst at 41.109km, and fell to earth under the tatters of the balloon. We were able to use GPS to work out where he had landed (in the middle of a barley field somewhere in rural Berkshire), and retrieved him


Ted Bull Stratos: Babbage’s leap of faith

Liz: Today we’ve got a guest post from our old high-altitude-ballooning friend Dave Akerman (just as well, really, because I’ve got really bad backache and am having to make a little nest of pillows to sit in before I can type without wincing). Tomorrow morning, Eben and I are rising with the lark to drive over to Berkshire, where we’ll be “helping” Dave launch another Pi-enabled balloon. This time, the payload is someone who may look familiar to you, and he’s going to try to replicate a world record.  This is cross-posted from Dave’s own blog , where you’ll also find much more information about tracking this flight from home if you’d like to follow us along tomorrow



Element14 recently held a competition for the best picture taken with the Raspberry Pi camera board. As it happens, we’d already featured the picture that won on Facebook and Google+ : Dave Akerman, up to his usual very-high-jinks with more spacefaring balloons, managed to capture a pretty astonishing picture of Devon and Cornwall from the stratosphere. Today’s post is not about Dave’s picture, but here it is again for the historical record


Guest post: more high altitude ballooning from Dave Akerman

Liz: Tomorrow, Eben and I are getting up at sparrowfart to go and stand in a field with Dave Akerman, where we will “help” him launch a balloon equipped with a Pi. This time the balloon, rather than going for an altitude record, is intended to travel a long distance laterally; we’re hoping it’ll make it to Poland in the 24 hours we have before its batteries run out


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