Space Camera Project

  • #1
Hey everyone,

So, my school club was approached by a local entrepreneur that sends up cubesats as well as ping-pong ball sized "satellites." The original intent of these (what he likes to call) Pongsats was to get kids excited about STEM and space. He send them up for free via weather balloon.

Well, my club decided that we should take the opportunity to send one up with a camera to capture some images or videos of Earth and space. The Pongsats only real requirement is that it fits inside of a pingpong ball and doesn't cause any explosions. I've been trying to research the best HD cameras to use. I've looked into spy cameras because they're so small but I run into the problem home of functionality at -120C. I've also looked into sports cameras and run into the same problem. At this point I'm researching making one from scratch essentially. I figured I could turn to my fellow physicists to pitch some ideas.

Any suggestions would be great!
 

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  • #2
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And how do you plan to get the images from the camera back on the ground?
 
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  • #3
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Rather than focus on one thing, I'd encourage you to take steps. Can you build a device that does what you want and fits in a ping pong ball that's stationary? That's moving? That's moving and keeps pointing in the right direction? Can you get a signal across the room? Across a city? I suspect that when you start making these kinds of design decisions, a whole pile of constraints will appear - and you might discover that your problem isn't keeping your camera warm, it's keeping it cool?
 
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  • #4
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Not to mention power supply reliable at these temperatures.
 
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  • #5
So, the program that sends up these Pongsats sends them up via weather balloon and it coms back down via triggered parachute. So the device itself is recoverable.

I anticipate running into more issues as I delve deeper into this project, but my club is very novice in this field as we are only community college students so I was hoping that we'd be able to get better insight on a device through here.

The program mentioned a Brazillian team doing a very intricate experiment that used several devices connected together and had several different sensors in it. So, I know that sending up something that can take pictures or a video is possible, but figuring out where to start is sort of my main issue.

Thanks!
 
  • #6
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Why do you think the device has to function at -120C? If it's a balloon, it will go up to 100,000 feet or so, where the temperature is typically -50C. In any event, I'd be much more worried about keeping the device cool than keeping it warm. At 100,000 feet you're above 99% of the atmosphere. That means that electronics used to be cooled by air will no longer have that cooling. If you aren't careful, they will develop local hots spots and fail.
 
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