Microsoft’s Azure helps send IoT into space
(Image: Matt Long/Flickr)

Microsoft’s Azure helps send IoT into space

A new high altitude IoT research project is set to launch that will begin sending data to the cloud from beyond the clouds.

A helium balloon fitted with seven radios, 38 sensors, and six cameras will be sent 100,000 feet into the air so that it can stream real-time telemetry and live flight video to Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform.

The project has been named Pegasus II and is scheduled for a test flight over the next few days, following a cancelled launch back in February due a malfunctioning air pressure sensor. The upcoming test will prove critical to ensure that communications with the payload, ground station and field gateways are all working correctly, as well as any associated software. If successful, a new launch window will be declared for later this month.

“The Pegasus Mission is all about experimentation and the search for new ideas to achieve something that is not currently possible,” explains the project website. “This is not our day job, it’s our passion for experimentation. High Altitude Science provides an interesting proving ground for this, where it takes literally a mission to get a craft into the upper atmosphere, 20 miles above the surface of the Earth.”

Also read: How the Internet of Things is influencing the engineering sector

IoT in space

The Pegasus II project is not the first effort that has looked to take IoT solutions into the stratosphere. Airbus Defence and Space began work on the MUSTANG project last year, aiming to create a global IoT network that relies on both terrestrial and satellite terminals. The vast quantities of data provided by extra-terrestrial sources – NASA collects hundreds of terabytes every hour – also presents possible IoT opportunities.

For the team at Pegasus II, they will be hoping that the tests scheduled to take place this weekend are without issue. Anyone that wants to follow the team’s progress can access live feeds from the project website or download the Pegasus Mission smartphone app.

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