Trip to Visit North American Eagle

The Pegasus Mission spent Wednesday morning (7/27/16) with the North American Eagle team discussing placing our telemetry package onboard to deliver a real-time experience during the run for a land speed record. This story FAR exceeds a novel attempt at breaking a record. It is a 17-year story of dogged determination, and complex problem solving that took years…one problem at a time on shoe-string budget. There is also an interesting connection with the history of the aircraft, which Ed Shadle resurrected from a piece of junk and former pilots have reconnected. This makes NAE living piece of history on its final mission into the history books.

STEM is everywhere in this craft capable of 835 mph. It is both engineering and art in many ways. It is one story after another on conquering insurmountable odds in an effort to challenge assumptions about what is possible. The Pegasus Mission connects with this remarkable and resourceful team and we are ALL-IN. The NAE team’s effort is not just noble, it is truly heroic.

Our mission is to bring a global audience a real-time experience of Jessi Combs historic run with video and telemetry via Azure through Web and Mobile. Likely occurring between Sept 18th and Oct 15th of 2016. We will also deliver a “virtual cockpit” experience such that users can visualize what the pilot sees, telemetry, and controls…a combination of science and visual art. An interesting note is this will be done from a physical location where no Internet or cellular communications exists…done with a satellite feed to a global audience in milliseconds.

NAE is much more than a “race” for record.  It is a team that embodies all of us, the human race, challenging the status quo through a mission nearly 2 decades. Funding support is greatly appreciated to ease the financial burden the NAE team shelters themselves to bring this event to life in a new digital era.  You can make a small donation at their Web site, to help ease the personal expense of the 6 week long and massive logistical effort to ready the craft for its run into history…be a part of history.

Follow us on Twitter: @PegasusMission as Pegasus Mission-NAE team prepares to deliver another risky and unique STEM experience in real-time…this time at the speed of sound

Pegasus Mission Goes Supersonic with NAE

The flight of Pegasus II made international headlines with 50 MS FTEs participating in the project to deliver a real-time experience to a global audience from 100,000 feet in the upper atmosphere.  The team challenged assumptions about what is possible and made a little history in the process.  To that end we successfully had 20+ articles written about the flight, over 8M readers, viewers from 60 countries watching our live video, and thousands of users around the world participating in a real-time flight to near space. Now, we set our goals toward other interesting projects and experiences.

The Pegasus Mission is partnering with North American Eagle (NAE) to help support and promote the attempt at breaking the Land Speed Record.  We will run a series of experiments from a high speed vehicle in a remote location and connect this with a global audience in real-time.


NAE uses a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter with wheels as the vehicle to attempt and break the men’s and women’s land speed record.  In less than a few minutes, with afterburners burning 90 gallons of fuel per minute, the vehicle has traveled less than 10 miles and broken the sound barrier.   Our experiment onboard the NAE will test our ability to broadcast telemetry live from a rapidly moving object from a remote location and provide this to a global audience.  Additionally, we want to the audience with a sense of what it is like to be sitting in the pilot’s seat traveling faster than sound on land.

Part 1 – Experiment

We will be building a small device that captures a minimal set of telemetry within the cockpit of the NAE.  This telemetry will be broadcast over a 2-way radio back to our ground station at base camp.  The ground unit will be wired to our field gateway, which will then send the telemetry over a portable SATCOM to our operational technology (Piraeus) in the Microsoft Cloud.  A Web site connected to Piraeus and receive the telemetry and display the live feed to a global audience.  Because of the brief duration of the run, we will leverage our Twitter and Twilio feeds to alert users and keep them informed.

Bonus – If we have enough time, we may enable users to send a message to the NAE over the Web site and capture their message onboard the craft.

This enables us to discover new knowledge in reliable remote and high speed communications with a global audience, which is applicable to wide range of scenarios.

Part 2 – Cockpit Experience

The NAE collects a large amount of telemetry (2048 measurements/second from each of the 28 sensors) to help them analyze the configuration after a run.  The telemetry is offloaded after the run through a WiFi network setup on the ground.  This means we can access the telemetry very quickly after the NAE has completely its run. A video camera is positioned over the pilot’s left should that shows their view of the run.   We will break the telemetry down to into a usable pilot-like experience, e.g., throttle position, stick position, speed, weight on wheels, nose angle, etc., etc., and couple this will the video to provide a synchronize experience shortly after the run is complete.  Once completed will we upload over our SATCOM to the MS Cloud and users will be able to experience a virtual “ride of your life” with the video and virtual cockpit design over a Web site.

North American Eagle – expected test run Aug-Sep 2016

@PegasusMission and @landspeed763

Dare Mighty Things 🙂

Pegasus II – News Articles


Pegasus II mission sends balloon high above Earth and invites you along for an Internet of Things ride

Go on an Internet of Things ride with the Pegasus II mission – 100,000 feet to near space

You Can Play Mission Control With a Weather Balloon Today

Microsoft Is Testing Azure IoT Platform From The Stratosphere

Get in touch with the stratosphere through Microsoft’s Pegasus II balloon mission

Cosmic Log
Pegasus will put you in touch with stratosphere

Participate in Pegasus II—Real-time Internet of Things experiment from the edge of space

Cloud Computing Today
Microsoft’s Pegasus II Balloon Promises To Illustrate Azure IoT Capabilities

Electronic Component News Magazine
Participate in Pegasus II: Real-Time IoT Experiment From Edge of Space

Participate in Pegasus II, the Microsoft Real-time Internet of Things experiment from the edge of space
Microsoft shows off Azure IoT with Pegasus II mission – get real time info on your Android, iOS or Windows Phone “ÏoT from the edge of space.”

Microsoft wants you to participate in Pegasus II, an IoT experiment from the edge of space

Balloon News
Pegasus Mission looks to combine high altitude ballooning with social media

Silicon Investor
Microsoft Is Testing Azure IoT Platform From The Stratosphere

Internet of Business
Microsoft’s Azure helps send IoT into space

Microsoft Power User
Microsoft testing Azure IoT platform in the actual clouds

Net of Everything
Ride through the stratosphere with Pegasus II

Hey Event
Pegasus II Flight to 100,000 feet

Follow the flight of Pegasus II tomorrow


IoT, Azure cloud: Microsoft Pegasus II

Anam Khan
Get in touch with the stratosphere through Microsoft’s Pegasus II balloon mission

Pegasus II – Balloon Parameters

A few calculations made on the flight of Pegasus II.  We target an ascent rate of 5 m/s, then work out the remaining calculations.  It is always a trade off between max altitude, mass of payload, ascent rate, and balloon size.  We must be careful to avoid a floater (neutral buoyancy) and ensuring the tethering is has enough tension, i.e., > 500 grams of residual lift.  We don’t measure the volume of Helium, rather the Neck Lift as the balloon fills.

Balloon Size 2000 grams
Mass of Payload 3950 grams (8 lbf, 11 oz)
Target Altitude 30480 meters
Launch Altitude 192 meters
Burst Diameter 10.67 meters (35 ft)
Target Ascent Rate 5 meters/sec
Helium Volume 7.4 cubic meters, 260 cubic feet
Launch Diameter 2.4178 meters (7.93 ft)
Free Lift 7745 grams
Neck Lift 5745 grams
Residual Lift 1795 grams
Burst Altitude 32233 meters

How far can Pegasus II see?

How far an Pegasus II see from the apex of the flight?

That question is complicated by the atmospheric conditions at the time.  Light refraction comes into play because the denser layers of the atmosphere, closer to the surface, bend light and extend the visible distance.  There are a host of factors that come into play at the point in time the observation is made, either extending or reducing the theoretical limit due to refraction.  Most of the time it will reduce it.  A calculation without using refraction produces a smaller visible range, a range likely to be exceeded by an unknown amount.

The apex of Pegasus II’s flight ~111K feet, should have enabled us to view some or part of 40% of the number of states in the United States and some of Canada.  Not a bad stat.