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Report
National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Balloon Program
2009 Bridging the Gap to
Space
The Micro-Instrumentation
Package: A Solution for
Lightweight Ballooning
Created by Jill Juneau
Presented by Dwayne Orr
Consolidated Instrumentation Package (CIP)
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Used for systems in range of Line of Sight
(LOS) lasting hours up to a few days
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Battery powered, lasting up to several days
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TM Uplink
– 1200 Baud UHF Uplink
– 77 Discrete Relay Drivers
– 16 Bit Parallel Data Word
TM Downlinks
– VCO’s IRIG 7, 8, 9, B, E, HH
– GPS Position / Pressure Altitude
– FAA Transponder
– L/S Band Transmitters
• NTSC Video
• Up to 1Mbit Bi-phase Science Data
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≈ 100 pounds with the termination system
Support Instrumentation Package (SIP)
• Used for Long Duration flights needing Over the Horizon
Communications
• Line Of Sight Communications
– Telemetry Transmitter up to 1 Mbps
• Over the Horizon Communications
– NASA’s TDRSS – 6 kbps Omni Antenna
– NASA’s TDRSS – 92 kbps High Gain Antenna
– Iridium – 2kbps through dialup
• Solar Panel Power System and Backup Batteries
• ≈ 400 lbs with solar panel and termination system
What is the MIP?
• The MIP is a lightweight Over the Horizon telemetry and
termination system that in its full up configuration can
provide safe operation of a balloon flight including data
downlink/uplink, termination, parachute cutaway, and
ballasting
Benefits of a Lightweight Cost Effective Telemetry System
• The Micro Instrumentation Package (MIP) is great for scientists who:
– Want to use a lightweight payload on small balloons for lower costs and/or
disposable flights
– Want to use a lightweight payload on a large balloon for higher altitudes
– Need a NASA approved Over the Horizon lightweight telemetry system to
safely operate the balloon flight
•
The MIP does have very limited data rates compared with CSBF’s other
telemetry systems - the trade off is weight and cost
History of the MIP development and test flights
• Early 2006 - First electronic development
started
• During summer and fall of 2007 – 3
piggyback flights on CSBF flights and 7
test flights conducted using 3000 gram
balloons that burst at 100k feet
• Spring 2008 - Two full up test flights with
full flight trains
• After the 2 successful full up test flights,
the MIP was qualified as a NASA flight
system
MIP Test Flights
Microcontroller PCB – The central unit of the MIP
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Designed by CSBF
Uses Microchip Pic18F8722
Programmed in C
Features located on board
– 22 Analog inputs
– 16 digital inputs
– 30 digital outputs
– 6 serial ports
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Line Of Sight port
Iridium port
GPS port
Cross over commanding or
external stack input
• Diagnostics port
• Science data port
MICROCONTROLLER
PCB
RS232
COMMANDS
LOS ANTENNA
PRIMARY LOS
TRANSCEIVER
IRIDIUM ANTENNA
IRIDIUM SBD
COMMANDS
IRIDIUM SBD
DATA PACKETS
IRIDIUM
LBT
ISO SCIENCE
DATA
ISO SCIENCE
COMMAND
AART
INTERFACE
SCIENCE PACKAGE
STACK
RS232 DIAGNOSTIC
PORT
GPS ANTENNA
GPS RECEIVER
22 - ANALOG
INPUTS
16 - DIGITAL INPUTS
30 COMMAND
OUTPUTS
TEMPERATURES
&
POWER MONITORS
RELAY PCB
RELAY STATUS
COMMANDS
MIP RELAYS
SCIENCE
RELAY DRIVER
PCB
Microcontroller PCB – The central unit of the MIP
• Advantages of microcontroller board
– Inexpensive parts (microcontroller costs
$10)
– Low power – 120 mA at 9 V with GPS
unit running
– Board footprint is small (4.25” x 4.25”)
– Can be used for many different CSBF
applications
– Many timers and parameters are
programmable during flight
– Operates over wide range of
temperatures and performs well in a
vacuum environment
MIP Configurations – Antarctica Pathfinder
• Used to verify satellite derived wind
data acting as an Over the Horizon
sonde
• Provides basic GPS information and
temperature data
• Consists of CSBF Microcontroller
PCB, Iridium SBD modem 9601, and
battery
• System has been used successfully
the last 2 seasons in Antarctica
MIP Configurations – Antarctica Pathfinder
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Steady State power = 1.2 Watts
The 9601 Iridium modem uses Short Burst Data only
To save power Iridium modem is put into power standby when not used
In Previous flights the system weighed 4 pounds and lasted for 5 days with
once every 30 minute transmission
• New configuration will weigh less than 5 pounds and provide for 10 days of
flight with once every 30 minute transmission rates
Video of a Pathfinder Launch
MIP Configurations – Backup Navigation System
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Used as the third redundant GPS system on long
duration flights with a Support Instrumentation
Package (SIP)
Provides basic GPS information and SIP critical
housekeeping parameters
Consists of CSBF Microcontroller PCB, Iridium
SBD modem, DC/DC Converter and is powered
from the SIP
MIP Configurations – Full Up System Functions
• Redundant Microcontroller Boards with
crossover commanding
• Redundant LOS Transceivers
• Redundant SBD Iridium Units
• Dial-Up capability on one modem
• Redundant GPS receivers
• Redundant DC/DC converter Boards
• 3 MKS Pressure Sensors
• 1 for each range
• 2 Science Interface Ports
MIP Configurations – Full Up System Functions
• Burst Detect and Minimum Altitude Circuits
• Ballast Valve Circuit controlled independent
of software
• Each microcontroller board redundantly
monitors termination, parachute cutaway,
and valve information
• Redundant termination firing circuits and
Helium Valve
• Parachute Cutaway System
MIP Data Rates
LOS
• LOS transceiver UHF frequency
• MIP packet once every 15 seconds
• Science packet up to 255 bytes once every 30 seconds
• Commands can be received at any time
• Science can add LOS telemetry transmitter (up to 1 Mbps) with tradeoff
of more batteries
OTH
• Iridium Short Burst Data
• MIP packet once a minute
• Commands received when packet is sent
• Science packet up to 255 bytes once every few minutes
• Future capability to have dial up available for science data
Comparison of Data Rates for CSBF systems
Description (Data Types)
Consolidated
Instrumentation
Package (CIP)
Support Instrumentation
Package (SIP)
Micro-Instrumentation Package
(MIP)
LOS Data Rate
Up to 1 Mbps
(Continuous)
Up to 1 Mbps (Continuous)
255 bytes once every 30 secs.
(Option for Up to 1 Mbps-Continuous)
Iridium Short Burst (OTH)
N/A
255 byte packet once every 15
minutes
255 byte packet once every few
minutes (programmable)
Iridium Dial Up (OTH)
N/A
Up to 2 kbps
(Continuous)
250 bytes per second
Development not completed for
science data
TDRSS Omni Antenna
(OTH)
N/A
Up to 6kbps
(Continuous)
750 bytes per second
N/A
TDRSS High Gain Antenna
(OTH)
N/A
Up to 92kbps
(Continuous)
11,500 bytes per second
N/A
MIP Power Consumption and Weight
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MIP Enclosure steady state power 28V@.5A = 14W
When transmitting LOS Current spikes shortly above 1A
When Dialed up Iridium current spikes up to .75A
Can achieve lower power consumption depending on the
configuration
Can operate on batteries or solar panel system
The MIP electronic enclosure weighs 20 pounds without
batteries
A 10 lb. 30 amp hour battery pack will last approximately 2
days
6 day flight – 50 lbs. of electronics and batteries
Science Interface
Success with the Full Up MIP System - Summer 2008
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Super Pressure Balloon Test Flight
Launched in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico
2 million cubic feet balloon
MIP provided telemetry of the balloon location and
termination of the flight
Success with the Full Up MIP System - Summer 2008
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Flight from Sweden to Canada lasting 4 days 9 hours
11 million cubic feet balloon
MIP operated termination and parachute cutaway
System powered from batteries
Science Interface used to transmit science payload charge
controller information
Success with the Full Up MIP System - Winter 2008 - 2009
• Super Pressure Balloon Test Flight
– Launched from McMurdo Station, Antarctica
– Flight Duration: over 54 days
– 7 million cubic feet balloon
– MIP powered by small solar panel system
– MIP operated flight including flight termination and parachute cutaway
Video of SPB launch
Success with the Full Up MIP System - Summer 2009
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Flight from Sweden to Canada lasting 4 days 11 hours
39 million cubic feet balloon
MIP operated termination and parachute cutaway
System powered from batteries
Science Interface used to transmit science payload charge
controller information
Upcoming campaigns Antarctica 2009-2010
• BARREL
– MIP Pathfinder with terminate firing circuit used as a redundant method
of balloon communication and cut down
– 5 Test flights using .3 million cubic feet size balloon
– Total payload weight 70 lbs.
– MIP powered from BARREL solar panel system and backup battery
– Hand launch system
Video of BARREL Test Launch
Thank you for your attendance
Questions and Comments?
Video Of LEE launch

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