UBC Undergraduate Research

High altitude balloon with stabilized camera system Wasilenko, Lee


This report describes the design and testing of a camera stabilization system intended for use with on a high altitude balloon. The objective is to be able to control and stabilize a camera with enough precision to obtain clear photos of the stars and other celestial bodies. This report describes several possible mechanical designs but no clearly superior mechanical design emerged during the time allotted to the project. Tests were performed to determine an acceptable level of relative displacement between the camera and its subject. This was determined to be <0.5deg overall and can also be characterized as a rate <0.05/E(t) where E(t) is the shutter speed of the camera. The team constructed and tested a simple stabilization system with a gyroscopic rate sensor, an Arduino microcontroller, and a servo. The system behaviour was determined by PI code written by the team. The team found that this system was not sufficient to provide the stringent level of control required for a stable image. The displacement measured by the team was 5.7deg, which is 10 times higher than that required. Further optimization and design research must be performed before the stability requirements can be met.

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