The ArduLab – powered by Atmel’s versatile ATMega 2560 microcontroller - is a highly capable experimentation platform ready for space right out of the box. Sensor mounting is straightforward, with unique functionality addressing the technical challenges of operating in space.
Designed by Infinity Aerospace, ArduLab can be programmed just like an Arduino. With a simple software command, the ArduLab switches into drive mode – making its memory accessible like a USB stick. In terms of physical assembly, the ArduLab is configurable using hex bolts and a few washers with an included allen wrench. Plus, over 100 flush mounted threaded inserts act as versatile anchors for a wide range of equipment.
The next ArduLab launch is scheduled for September 15, 2013. Although this particular mission is headed to the International Space Station (ISS) on an Antares Rocket/Cygnus spacecraft developed by the Orbital Sciences Corporation, the ArduLab is fully capable of operating on a number of suborbital launch vehicles and parabolic aircraft.
Interested in sending your experiment to the ISS and beyond? The Space Explorer Program includes ArduLab 1.0, an additional ArduLab board for experimentation development, launch slot to space and an Infinity Aerospace basic payload support for $4,995.
You can also customize your Explorer Program for an additional fee, while the Space Conqueror Program ($34,995 yearly subscription fee) offers unlimited flights to space, 3 x ArduLab 1.0, ($250 for each additional ArduLab 1.0) and a “Getting Started in Space” lesson with Infinity Aerospace engineers. Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out Infinity Aerospace’s official page here.
As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s ATmega2560 is a high-performance, low-power 8-bit AVR RISC-based microcontroller equipped with 256KB ISP flash memory, 8KB SRAM, 4KB EEPROM, 86 general purpose I/O lines, 32 general purpose working registers, a real time counter and 6 flexible timer/counters with compare modes. Additional key specs include a PWM, four USARTs, a byte oriented 2-wire serial interface, 16-channel 10-bit A/D converter and a JTAG interface for on-chip debugging.
The ATmega2560 is capable of achieving a throughput of 16 MIPS at 16 MHz, while operating between 4.5-5.5 volts. By executing powerful instructions in a single clock cycle, the device achieves a throughput approaching 1 MIPS per MHz, neatly balancing power consumption with processing speed.