Weber State University, HARBOR

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Team Member Amateur Radio Call Signs


Teams and Projects, 2016

2016 Prime Team Members:

Jeff Page – ATA and ozonesonde/radiosonde telemetry

Johnny Nickloff & Ryan Lawton – Ozonesonde, Ozone data analysis, Aerostat

Niko Mueller – Fill system

Brad Howard – Flight tracking and computerized mapping, live flight prediction

Erika Mueller – ozonesonde backup

Man Dinh, Cody O’Brien, Jeremy Blunck   MSA/Sniffer: power and GUI

Liz Dowell – MSA/Sniffer: calibration and housing; mass flow; 3D Printing Czar

Drew Petersen – Imaging, Flight Frame

Mike Hess – HiSAM and data processing

Alan Cedeno – Data Processing and file combining

Dara Littrell – Environmental Test Chamber Automation

Michael Remley

    MSA/sniffer: video, display, and WiFi

  – MiniMSA


 Admin Tasks for Sohl: Grant funding, Data analysis, SDL tour, NOAA balloon launch tour, FAA tour, Google Loon coordination/tour.


AtmoSniffer:  Calibration and zero point issues need to be addressed. The CO2 circuit needs to be changed. The dynamic range is too narrow (instrumentation amp?). We need a better power supply system. A GUI needs to be created and programmed. Software for guest packages needs to be figured out. The RPi video is not being used. The total lack of live telemetry needs to be fixed (XBee or WiFi).

Status/Needs: We are working on a temporary patch for the power while EE is doing a better power supply system. The calibration process has shown serious drift issues that need to be addressed.  

Team: Man Dinh, Cody O’Brien, Jeremy Blunck  – AtmoSniffer: power and GUI; Liz Dowell – AtmoSniffer: calibration and housing; mass flow


Flight Frame (F2): Wood and/or carbon fiber frame for imaging and other payloads. The concept will be very similar to the 2015 versions but with stronger frame members. It will be a pyramid design with 3 or 4 foot sides. Need to assess current status and determine if repairs are enough or if we need to replace/rebuild.

Status/Needs: We have two (one carbon one wood) At least one is broken.

Team: Drew Petersen, Ryan Lawton


O3M – Ozone Measurement (all altitudes): Hopefully this will become a primary mission for periodic flights to submit data to the international ozone database. This is a standard ozonesonde system.

Status/Needs: This system is robust and ready for flight. We now have the “ozoneizer” calibration system. Need to get it all running and start loading data into the International Ozone Database.

Team: Johnny Nikoloff (team lead), Ryan Lawton


Imaging: Video and still cameras including possibly an IR/Vis paired camera system. We need to work on the lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries. Adapting to the flight frames and shielding from cold.

Status/Needs: We have not been reliably taking images for the full flight. Need to slow down the cadence. We need to assess the condition of all cameras and batteries.

Team: Drew Petersen, Ryan Lawton; Bill Dowell (PI)


FTP – Flight Tracking and Prediction: Live computerized tracking of ground teams and the HARBOR near-spacecraft. Pre-flight forecasts and flight track prediction. Live flight track and landing prediction with real-time flight updates. (Dr. Rhett Zollinger, PI)

Status/Needs: Tracking system is pretty robust. Still needs a user manual and/or check list for operation by those who have not used it before. The live prediction feature has not been implemented. SBATS tracking system: need to look them over and assess condition. The SBATS long antennas and new cases need to be implemented. Considering a change in the antenna system and attachment.

Team: Brad Howard (team lead), (Sheyne Anderson & Ian Sohl are technical resources)


High Speed Telemetry: We need live flight data from the AtmoSniffer.

Status/Needs: We can use WiFi for short range, but longer range tests have been inconsistent.

Team:    (team lead)


Cutdown: There ultimately needs to be two robust versions of the cutdown. A super lightweight version that has a timer, pull-before-flight pin, and an easy way to set and display the time. Basically, this is a final version of the Davis Cutdown.

The full-up system needs: timer, pressure sensor, live comm-to-ground link, and maybe even a GPS. It needs a pull-before-flight pin and an easy way to update the status.

Status/Needs: We have a functional Davis cutdown, but it is not really in final form. If nothing else, it needs a better housing and easier way to attach the nichrome wire.

Team: Jeff Page   


HiSAM – Particle Counting (High-altitude Stratospheric Aerosol Measurement): Particle Counters need to be shipped back to be calibrated. MSA counter needs to be run next to the particle counters.

Status/Needs: Particle counters are being shipped back to the factory (one at a time) for refurbishment and recalibration. This project is sort of on-hold while a lighter weight system is being designed.

Team: On hold at the moment.


ATA – Automated Tracking Antenna: Tracking system for all telemetry signals, initially for the ozonesonde, then the MSA/AtmoSniffer, and possibly live video.

Status/Needs: Nearly complete except for a finalized check list and user instructions. Also, the antennae need to be mounted and a Y cable needs to be specified and ordered. Try to shift to only the radiosonde data for location. Change the modem stream.

Team: Jeff Page (team lead)


FTC – Flight Test Chamber: The chamber is complete and functional with manual control. We are now automating the vacuum chamber to simulate flights to the edge of space and back. We also want to be able to mix gasses and to install a cold finger.

Status/Needs: We need to create a computer interface for automation and control.

Team: This is an open project. This will be a senior EE project.


APD – Auxiliary Parachute Deployment: An extension of the Cut Down system that will deploy an additional parachute for emergency (as a reserve parachute) or ground safety purposes. This chute would be deployed a few thousand feet above ground level.

Status/Needs: On standby waiting for a team.

Team: This is an open project.


Mini-MSA – Ultra light weight Multi Sensor Array: A data logging system for base data on ultralight flights. Base Sensors: Inertial (acceleration at two resolutions and 3D, 3D gyroscope), 3D magnetic field, internal and external temperature, barometric pressure, battery voltage (system health), GPS position.

Needs to have a port added that will allow us to plug in a monitor or to use the WiFi for easy setup.

Needs to have long range WiFi added. Ideally we’d get flight data the whole way, but even 5 to 10 miles would be good.

Status/Needs: Sitting on the bench in a box needing final assembly and programming.



HARBOR—Lite: On hold for a possible UAV system. A light-weight and inexpensive payload for rapid atmospheric sensing primarily for PCAPS and quick lower-cost flights.  This would be a combination of MSA-Light and gas sensing. This also needs a very light weight cutdown, ideally with ground control. According to the Utah Division of Air Quality staff, there was a credit-card sized device being made that would sense multiple gases of interest. This was announced at an air quality conference, but we have not been able to track down an actual source or reference. If we can make this work, it could have significant scientific value for understanding Utah’s winter inversions.

Status/Needs: Probably best to wait for the final version of the Mini-MSA for now.

Team: This is an open project.


HARBOR-Tether: Flights over schools and coordinating with the Utah DAQ and U of U Atmospheric Sciences. Base Sensors: MSA4 (Inertial (acceleration at two resolutions and 3D, 3D gyroscope), 3D magnetic field, internal and external temperature, barometric pressure, battery voltage (system health), GPS position). Particle counter, pump control, flow meter measurement. Gas sensing: CO2, CO, O3, NOx, VOC. Future capability: wireless interface for live downlink telemetry, probably based on the Raspberry Pi WiFi.

Status/Needs: We have two major data sets that now need to be analyzed.

Primary Team:

Support Teams:


Sample Return Mission (SRM): Primarily a microbiological sample return system, but we’ll be happy to analyze anything we get.  Considering two main ideas, one is to just carry microbes aloft and see what the exposure does to them; the other is to capture microbes in situ. 

Status/Needs: On hold.

Team:  (team lead), Mo Sondossi (PI),