ISS Base Station brings space a little closer.
It’s Saturday morning at Drexel University’s ExCITe Center in West Philadelphia. The first morning of hacking for the 2013 International Space Apps Challenge begins.
Six students from the University of Pennsylvania’s Science and Technology Wing form a team, including undergrad Alain Hernandez, with several Arduinos, a Raspberry Pi, a LED display, servos to boot, and “an assortment of other hardware with no idea what we were going to do with them,” he says. Several challenges are discussed, including Spot the Station. At the Space Apps Mainstage opening reception the night before, local legend Derek Pitts had invited the crowd to guess how many times they think the International Space Station passes over Philly. Up to seven times each day? And even urban watchers can see it without a telescope? They begin to brainstorm ways to bring this information to a wider variety of audiences.
Meanwhile, a team of six others had formed and were considering the same challenge. “In the spirit of collaboration,” says teammate Kai Nimoya, “we decided to talk to the other group about our ideas—both to help us all with ideas and to avoid redundancy.” There is no team ...