So what do you do with a Raspberry Pi once you’ve had a go at building a webcam, a robot and a weather station? Well how about a Space Station Flyover Indicator?
Whilst watching a recent Web Show on TWiT.TV I caught the interview with Liam Kennedy, the inventor of ISS-Above who programmed a Raspberry Pi to light up whenever the International Space Station is nearby. Armed with online astronomy data he calculated the position of the ISS and then created a programme in python to flag when the ISS was within viewing range (assuming it was at night of course).
Having a keen interest in all things space and owning a Raspberry Pi which was gathering dust in a drawer, I backed his Kickstarter, ordering an SD card with the scripts pre-loaded. Within ten minutes of sending the payment I received a nice e-mail back from Liam thanking me for backing his project and promising the card would be sent to me in early May.
And yesterday the package arrived.
Liam had included instructions on getting started and soon my station was set up awaiting the next pass over. Unfortunately the ISS wasn’t due to cross over the UK until 4am this morning so I missed the message (Rio would have seen it as it was set up in my study but I don’t suppose he was too interested in the space station flyover at that time in the morning).
Also included in the setup is a dedicated page showing the upcoming passes, with details on it’s brightness, altitude angle and whether is will be visible or not, as well as a script that sends a tweet to the ISS from my station (ISSAbove-KS-280) saying hello to the astronauts. I’ve checked the next lot of passes (it circles the Earth every 90 minutes) but at present it is only above during the early mornings at present. Later in the month it does start to arrive earlier in the evenings, through to midnight so I am looking forward to getting the ISS-Above message then going outside to see it fly over.
I am also trying to learn python coding (hence watching the TWiT.TV Coding 101 show) so had a quick peak at Kevin’s scripts but soon realised I have quite a way to go before being able to write anything myself!