Sensing the atmosphere with an Arduino-based high-altitude balloon

Titan 1 is a high-altitude balloon sensing the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field.

The brainchild of Emanuel Bombasaro, Titan 1 is a high-altitude balloon (HAB) tasked with sensing the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field of an altitude up to 35 ,393 meters (116,118 feet).


Launched on August 21, 2015 in Denmark, the system is comprised of a helium-filled latex balloon, a payload box housing its flight computer, various sensors and a parachute. A GoPro camcorder is also mounted inside the payload to capture an image every second while up in the air.

The flight computer is based on an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and a HABduino shield, which logs the position, pressure, temperature, humidity, luminosity, magnetic field and acceleration — all measured by the embedded sensors. The global position of the HAB is determined by a MAX-M8 series GPS module and the data is transmitted via a Radiometrix MTX2 434MHz radio module.


Among the other sensors connected to the Arduino aboard Titan 1 include: a DS18B20 temperature sensor on the HABduino to show the flight computer compartment’s temperature, a MCP9808 maximum accuracy digital temperature sensor to monitor air temperature, a HTU21DF temperature and humidity sensor to track temperature and relative humidity of the air, a MPL3115A2 precision altimeter to keep tabs on atmospheric pressure, a TSL2561 light to digital converter, a BST-BMP180 pressure sensor, a L3GD20 3D gyroscope, a LSM303DLHC 3D accelerometer and 3D magnetometer module. Meanwhile, power is supplied through a LSH20 Saft LSH 20 lithium battery and feeds into the low input voltage synchronous boost converter on the HABuino shield.

Intrigued? You can read all about the mission in its detailed paper here, and watch its maiden flight for yourself in the video below!

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