Goals and Objectives
As a new student organization, the UC CubeCats had little experience in the space systems engineering process. Therefore, the main objective of Project Maine Coon was to develop a systems engineering process by which future CubeSats would be developed. The goals of the first HAB mission were to image Earth from 90,000 ft. with an OLED in the foreground of the picture that displayed the names of UC CubeCats members. The system also had to collect pressure, temperature, and magnetic field strength data throughout the flight.
The system designed to meet these goals and objectives utilized a Raspberry Pi to control a Pi camera, temperature/pressure sensors, and magnetometers. Image data was sent to a separate communications board, and this data was sent down using SSTV – a method for transferring pictures used by the HAM radio community. The system utilized a UC Amateur Radio Club designed UHF/VHF communications board to send telemetry data to the APRS network at 144.390 MHz. A backup tracker was also included in the design to send GPS telemetry data.
Launch and Recovery
The system was launched April 9th, 2016. Due to unforeseen issues the day of launch, only the Pi camera and OLED display were launched. The backup tracker was also the only communications system launched with the system. High wind that day carried the balloon through Kentucky and presumably into Virginia. The balloon payload was never recovered after communications were lost a second time.