High Altitude Visual Orientation Control (HAVOC)

Team Lead - Jaiden Stark (jbs0033@uah.edu)

High Altitude Visual Orientation Control (HAVOC) is a BalloonSat project that develops methods of active stabilization for high-altitude balloon payloads.

The current HAVOC payload (named CYCLONE) uses compressed air thrusters to control rotation at high altitudes. In addition to payload control, a three-axis gimbal is used to control camera or instrument orientation. The HAVOC payload improves the collection of high-altitude imagery and other missions required stable payload rotation. 

Since 2021, HAVOC has been flown on 6 high-altitude balloon flights.


CONTACT INFOJaiden Stark - jbs0033@uah.edu

HAVOC Project Patch

YouTube Channel

Photo Gallery:

Meet the Team:

Jaiden Stark

Team Lead

Email: jbs0033@uah.edu

Quinn Booker

Email: qrb003@uah.edu

Todd McKinney

Email: tm0155@uah.edu

Alex Roberts

Email: acr0025@uah.edu

Melinda Downey

Email: md0091@uah.edu

Timothy Marshall

Email: tpm0007@uah.edu

Payload Overview:

Payload free-body-diagram

The HAVOC Cyclone payload is designed to combat excessive payload rotation induced by winds during high-altitude balloon flight. In these situations payloads can rotate rapidly about the axis of the balloon line (denoted as the Z-axis in the above free-body-diagram). 

Cyclone Payload CAD

In order to create torque in a low-pressure environment, gas thruster pairs are used to induce rotation about the Z-axis. Two pairs of thrusters, mounted on lever arms to increase torque, are controlled by electric solenoid valves. These pairs of thrusters produce a coupled-moment that can either rotate the payload in a clockwise, or counter-clockwise direction about the Z-axis. Propellant is supplied in the form of compressed air from a lightweight, carbon fiber reinforced tank. 

Payload Pneumatics Diagram

Compressed air is stored at a pressure of 4,500 PSI, which is regulated by both a high-pressure and low-pressure adjustable regulator in series. This air line is then split to two solenoid valves that control to either the clockwise or counter-clockwise thruster set.