Upper atmosphere images from Dave Akerman's Pi in the Sky (via Dave Akerman)


At this day and age, a man by himself can send something into near space and have proof that he did it, along with visual evidence the of our beautiful bright blue planet we call home.



Dave Akerman created the Pi in the Sky project to send Raspberry Pi components on a trip to where weather balloons go to die. The trip took many loop-de-loops, reached a height of about 24.5 miles, resulting in about 22 miles of displacement and many hours and miles of driving to find it.



The flight was made possible by weather balloon, but the pictures and the tracking was done by the Raspberry Pi, a new RPi camera and tracker. The tracker was soldered on and powered by AA batteries. The RPi board’s battery life was extended by modifying the Pi to run on just 3V feeding into a new voltage regulator: see below


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Modified voltage regulator (via Daver Akerman)


He embedded all the components within a foam raspberry pi and attached a parachute to soften the blow once it hit the ground. After permission from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, he waited for a sunny day and simply let go of the PIE5 balloon for the “easiest launch ever.”



Akerman wrote a program to send pictures during the flight. One would send small pics down one radio frequency, and medium ones in another. Large High-Res pictures were also taken but stored on the onboard SD card. He also configured the camera settings to use matrix-metering mode instead of spot metering, which he had used on a previous test flight and delivered low quality images.



People from Northern Ireland, Holland and France listened into the Raspberry in the Sky’s broadcast.



Departing near Tetbury, UK the parachute, being accelerated by heavy remains of the weather balloon, dropped near the city of Swindon. Due to a two hour delay in launch, the team followed a previously predicted path that lead them to a location far from where the balloon actually landed and to far for contact with the Pi. Luckily, a neighbor in nearby Swindon, found the Raspberry and called Akerman’s number written inside. So the high-res pics survived! And you can see them right here:


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(Left) Flight Path (Right) Dave Akerman with his Pi in the Sky project (via Dave Akerman)


Check out the 3D flight mapping ( and Dave Akermans website ( for more.



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