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Vulture 1 GPS test: It did work, honest

Broadband glitch kills live map

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Yesterday's test of the Vulture 1 GPS/radio board didn't quite run according to plan, due to a dodgy broadband connection which scuppered the live map here on El Reg.

To recap, we arranged an airborne jaunt for the GPS unit (details here) which will allow us to track and recover our amazing space paper plane.

The unit transmits its coordinates via radio, to be picked up by a ground-based transceiver. This data can then be delivered webwards via a laptop and the APRS system.

Sadly, the broadband dongle went titsup during the test, which left our Vulture 1 map resolutely blank.

However, we're pleased to report that the board itself worked more or less as it should, and we were able to put together this .KMZ file from the data:

Google Earth grab showing track of Vulture 1 GPS unit

We did lose the signal for a bit after take-off, but this we reckon was down to the ground antenna. Suffice it to say, we've got a bigger, PARIS-sized antenna on order for future tests.

For the record, we flew a Piper Warrior from Exeter International Airport on a brief jaunt, and here's our radio man Steve Daniels (callsign G6UIM) posing with the diminutive board, just before the flight:

Steve Daniels poses with the Vulture 1 GPS board

And in case you were wondering, it was a lovely day:

View from the aircraft during the Vulture 1 GPS test

Sadly, we didn't get many more snaps, as I was busy flying the plane. Oh, OK then: there was a real pilot on board to make sure we got back to earth in one piece. ®

Additional PARIS resources

  • Our dedicated PARIS section, with all previous updates, is right here.
  • New to PARIS? We have a basic mission summary here (pdf).
  • Check out our YouTube channel - currently featuring a few camera tests.

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