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All Creative Computer Club Resources created by Matthew C. Applegate are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Please note that some of these resources also contain images of software that is protected by copyright and are used under special agreement with these software companies, they are therefore are not covered by the Creative Commons License. The text is free to download, use, edit and redistribute, the images are free to download and use as is, unfortunately they are not available to edit and redistribute. You can find the resources page here.←

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Creative Computing Club High Altitude Balloon Project


Over the summer/autumn the Creative Computing Club which was initially funded through hopes to launch a High Altitude Balloon (HAB) to collect data and pictures from near space. 


You can help fund and support this project here at 


What Is Our History?

The Creative Computing Club has gone from strength to strength after gaining funding through last year. The initial pilot course ran for 8 weeks with just ten students, it hasn't stopped since then and now it has over twenty students who regularly attend the Tuesday sessions. Because we have grown in numbers, we have since moved from Chantry library, Ipswich to Parkside PRU, Ipswich which has a full IT suite and excellent friendly and supportive staff.
In addition to the financial support from all those who pledged through we also received support from Rapid Electronics, Young Rewired State, O'reilly publishing, YoYoGames and Love Electronics via equipment and expertise and for that we are truly grateful.

What Do We Do?

The aim of the Creative Computer Club (CCC) is simple, teach kids new skills using technology whether that be computer programming, electronics, game design, digital illustration, digital sound, animation, using tech such as Arduinos, LEGO Mindstorms, YoYo Games GameMaker, Processing and much more.
The CCC project has proven to be a success and beneficial to students not just while at the sessions but in their everyday lives by boosting their confidence and allowing them access to professionals who donate their time to teach them. It has helped a number of students in their school work allowing them to find connections with the things they are learning and real-life examples that they can not only understand but explore and build upon. Lastly and certainly not least CCC has provided a social outlet for the students, providing them with teambuilding exercises which also help build their self-confidence and motivation.

What Do We Want To Achieve?

The CCC aims to launch a High Altitude Balloon in to near space to collect data and images. The project also brings together a lot of the learning we have undergone in the last year requiring us to build the the probe/payload and balloon using our electronics, programming and design skills.


Research how High Altitude Balloons are made, learn and observe a local organisation launching one.
Meet with local Astronomy clubs to identify the needs and possibilities of our HAB to make it safe, robust and as much fun as possible.
Build the components in to the payload, temperature sensor, GPS module, camera, sound recorder so we can track it upon landing and collect the data from it.
Apply to have the balloon legally and safely launched.
Learn how balloons are tracked using various APIs and GPS software.
Document the entire process through a series of videos.
Prepare a rough guide to launching HABs so other schools and community projects can do the same.

Are There Any Risks? 

All publicly engaging projects have risks, but through careful planning and design we hope to all but eliminate them. Even if the the payload is lost / destroyed we will still have the learning experience of having built one and all of the off-site learning experiences with the different organisations.

What Are The Benefits?

CCC has a history of providing students with unique learning experiences, this project will build on several aspects of their skills. They will need their electronics skills to wire up the components, they will need their programming skills to get the components to work together. They will need their design skills to design a robust and safe payload system with multiple contingency plans.
One of the fundamental beliefs of CCC is that if a student doesn't know they are allowed or capable of doing something, the chances are they are not likely to try it, building something as unique and hands-on such as a High Altitude Balloon with give them an enormous boost in confidence to explore what they can do with their talents.

What Will This Funding Cover?

Well apart from the obvious components, things like transport, both public and vehicle hire to see and meet the experts, insurance to cover the children out-and-about as well as the balloon itself. This will also sometimes cover snacks and warm drinks if we are to go out observing with local astronomy clubs at night time.

Who Is Running The Project?

Matthew C. Applegate / Pixelh8 the founder of Creative Computer Club and CCC4Kids will be drawing on his vast range of experience to help the group design, build, launch and document the project. His previous experience includes working with Institutions like the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge and organisations such Rewired State, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The National Museum of Computing to deliver engaging learning opportunities for children and adults alike. Additionally Matthew is currently researching for his PhD in Educational Technology and will be donating his time and skills for free to the project.
Additional help and information will be sought from the "Orwell Astrological Society", "UKHAS",  and the "Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge" but these are yet to be confirmed.

Great! When Are We launching?

Well that is of course dependant on successful funding, weather and availability of the organisations and specialist individuals. The short answer is looking like the end of summer early autumn at the safest and most suitable time for a successful mission.

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