100% of the initial funding goal was reached in the first 48 hours. You guys are amazing. The pressure to secure funding is gone. Now, we get to focus on the fact that this project will ‘make’ and we can get to the business of getting a balloon launched way, way, up there to get you some awesome photos, teach others about amateur radio, and collect and record 8-10 data streams during the flight… maybe inspiring some of you to pursue your own projects.
Where do we go from here? For those of you that have never created a Kickstarter project, you may not be aware that funding is all-or-nothing; we needed to reach our stated goal of $1000 or none of your pledges would be collected. In fact, all of the numbers are still pledges and the funding window we set is still open until October 15. Which means we won’t receive funds until then but we can go in confidence and buy some of the technology we are less familiar with and begin getting acquainted. (In fact, we got 2-3 sensors and a radio wiring harness delivered today!)
A funding window that is open until October 15 also means we can be funded above the initial goal. These are called ‘stretch goals’ and I think it’s safe to say we could push a little bit and make some of those numbers too. You can help with this part. You can forward this project to friends, coworkers, cohorts etc. Anybody that would enjoy participating can add a bit of funding and it will all go to the project.
At some point though, there is a physical limitation as to what we can lift and still be legal keep the FAA happy. All that means is that at some point we would shift from quantity of things to add to the project to better quality pieces that could last years and multiple flights. First, we intend to add more electronics/sensors for monitoring more data and then we would consider upgrading the cameras to the higher resolution 4k models or better quality radios for the APRS or repeater.
Right now our intent with the funding before us is to send three radios (one for APRS tracking and two for the up/down sides of the repeater) and at least 2 cameras (maybe a 3rd), along with an arduino with sensors monitoring and logging 5-7 types of data.
The balloon and helium are consumables but as long as we safely recover the payload, all this equipment is re-flyable and will be used but the Baylor Amateur Radio Club to promote their program and to offer an exciting platform for bringing more students into amateur radio, STEM learning, and as a platform for more exciting near-space research.
More updates on funding and testing soon!
Thank you all so much, again.