SATCOM Iridium Tracking

With all the equipment onboard a high altitude balloon, the last thing we want to do is lose one. To ensure that, we added an Iridium SATCOM Modem to our lineup of trackers.

We are using the Rock7 RockBlock, which from a cost perspective is only about $50-60 per flight (relatively cheap compared to replacing everything).

We chose this because we want to see updates throughout the entire flight and include some custom data in our payload. The SPOT tracker works well, but isn’t as “hackable” and can only provide updates when below an altitude of 60,000 ft (which is only 50-60% of the max altitude, providing a huge blind spot).

I will follow up with a wiring guide and some code of our flight system.

Here is the initial wiring diagram, it is using a Teensy 3.1 (a 3.2 will work as well). Note that for the ArdusatSDK to be compatible with the Teensy board (non standard arduino hardware) we had to make some adjustments. See the ArdusatSDK#Teensy branch, as the current release of the SDK is incompatible with the Teensy board.


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