February 2010 Archives


Freerunner preparing for his second outer space trip

Freerunner with case In May last year the Freerunner had its debut in outer space. The Mobile Rocket Base department of the German Aerospace Center launched a research rocket into the aerospace (140Km height). On board was the pictured Freerunner. Although the metal case you can see on the picture is new and was not used.

The mission of the rocket was to experiment with materials physics under conditions of weightlessness. The Freerunner had nothing to do with this experiments and was only on board to verify that it survives the launch, travel and landing. Battery, GSM and GPS antenna has been removed before launch. Everything survived. During the flight the accelerometers have been used to collect measurements.

In May this year it will enjoy its second trip into space. The case was designed and build to offer space for the Freerunner as well as an extension board connected to it. The board is connected to the debug board connector of the Freerunner which offers a SPI and an I2C bus. It was designed to hold different sensors the Freerunner does not offer and is equipped with a BMP085 pressure sensor and two gyroscopes. The Melexis MLX90609 and the Sensonor SAR100.

Freerunner with board

Over the next month I'll working on drivers for these two gyroscopes and after the flight we will see if the chips survived and if the data they had produced will show that they are good enough for further testing.

All in all this shows pretty nicely how an open device with available schematics, CAD files and hardware interfaces can serve together with an open software stack for vertical markets. Be it for research purpose like in this case or a crazy business idea on the other side. The fact that you have all resources to understand the electrical design as well as being able to make changes over the complete software stack brings you into the position to easily adapt it for your needs.

Some more picture with a higher resolution can be found here.

UPDATE: Fix typos and rewrite some parts so people have a chance to understand it.

Posted by Stefan Schmidt | Permanent link | File under: linux, openmoko, freelancer