The main goal those past two weeks was to work on getting the project’s aim and objectives down, and start working on the research question. My working title for the project is “Designing a standard communications platform for Low-cost space applications”.

Project Aim:

“Evaluate, design and implement and a low-cost platform for intra-payload and long-range radio communications for High-Altitude balloons”


  • Evaluate existing platforms & protocols used for communications between payloads and over radio in high-altitude balloons and low-cost space applications (CubeSat class nano-satellites)

  • Evaluate the feasibility of a generalised High-Altitude Balloon bus based on low-cost, open-source, off-the-shelf hardware

  • Design the required protocols and build a prototype for an open-source high-altitude balloon flight computer and communication platform.

Research Question:

I’m not happy with it so far (at all) — the yes/no answer is a fairly obvious red flag, but the research question I’ve come up with so far is:

“Can a low-cost, generalised intra-payload and radio communication platform be designed to facilitate the implementation of High-Altitude Balloon scientific missions?”

Next Week

Next week, I need to focus on my research question and gathering good context and background reading to prepare for the literature review and the proposal in general.

On the experiments side, I want to try and setup a basic radio link, for the moment with existing protocols (probably RTTY and SSDV).

Reading List

I’ve focused my research this week on data and communication buses designed for small satellites (usually CubeSat class):