Picobalon is a small stratospheric probe. It is an ultralight stand-alone device that can perform and send measurements of meteorological data. These data include temperature, humidity, pressure, UV radiation, IR radiation, visible light, CO2 concentration, NOX concentration, O3 concentration and magnetic fields. The picoballoon consists of a microcontroller, power supply, positioning system, telemetry system and sensors. It is released on a special foil balloon that does not burst at the height of ordinary balloons. Thanks to this, the picoballoon can fly several thousand kilometers.
Communication technology (LoRaWAN) is compatible with more than 9000 radio stations in the world, so the picoballoon can work practically all over the planet. Power on the balloon lasts up to several hundred days.
We do this project mainly for testing electronics, which will go to larger projects, but on a smaller and cheaper scale. Microcontrollers, GPS modules, power supply as well as sensors are tested. It is also possible to collect various useful data with the help of a picoballoon, but we have not yet reached that.
Our member Jakub Nagy started working on the project in January 2019. Officially, the picoballoon became the SOSA project from August 2019. During this time, 5 prototypes were produced and 6 starts took place. The longest flight lasted up to 136 hours and the balloon flew the farthest to Iran.
We are currently working on a new prototype, version number 6. A different microcontroller, a different power supply (solar panels) and a different structure of the entire probe will be used.