David Miller’s Space Robotics Class recently tested their balloon flight. Most high altitude balloons spin uncontrollably. This project used two wings to control the yaw of the payload.
The camera pointed in a fixed direction for two minutes. It would then spin clockwise for 15 seconds, stabilize again for 2 minutes, and then spin counterclockwise for 15 seconds. This repeated for the 200 minute ascent. The balloon popped at about 90,000 feet and the payload returned using a one meter parachute. Yaw control terminated when the payload had dropped 10,000 feet below the max altitude. The payload also contained, pressure, temperature, humidity and UV sensors. The camera looked at the squeeze toy and art model of an astronaut helmet in the foreground. Most of the ascent is shown at 20 times the original speed. Stability can be observed by seeing the sun highlights in the eyes. They are steady for about six seconds, and then spin clockwise or counterclockwise for one second (15 seconds in real-time) as the payload does a spin. The highlights hold steady for another six seconds.