The activity is aimed at developing new equipments for Telemetry managements of Long Duration Balloons (LDB) and Ultra LDB (ULDB). The current developments starts from the basic element MSITel, that has been realized by LEN srl under specifications from IASF-Bologna.

{mosimage}The original MSITel basic board has been upgraded to the current version by improving both the hardware and the firmware. Even the software packages for Ground Station operations and Data decoding have been improved to the last versions, that have been used extensively into the BIT (Bi-Directional Iridium Telemetry) 2009 flight campaign. BIT has been realized in collaboration between LEN srl and IASF-Bologna and represents the most advanced equipment for LDB-ULDB full management Telemetry. Further developments are in progress aimed at exploiting all the capabilities of the MSITel design step by step, taking into account some future applications for which requirements have been defined. Among them the management of a Power System for LDB experiments based on Hydrogen Fuel Cells, which is going through a preliminary phase study.

At the moment is under realization a new version of BIT, namely BIT+, that has inside the same MSITel electronic board flown in Svalbard 2009 with additional sensors (temperature, pressure, …). With respect to BIT, this improved BIT+ module will allow the user to have more housekeeping data available for the balloon flight management, leaving all the MSITel analog&digital I/O available to the scientific payload, if any. After his successful qualification in the Svalbard 2009 flight, BIT (and BIT+) may be considered the most complete and reliable telemetric equipment for instruments onboard stratospheric balloons as well as on ground, when global coverage is a requirement. The BIT (and BIT+) Ground Station Console (GSC) is essentially a laptop PC connected to a standard Iridium modem.

The use of Iridium modem allows the GSC to be set everywhere, even without a terrestrial telephone line access. In that way 2400-4800 kbit/sec (full duplex) are available for real time Telemetry and Telecommands.Together with the BIT (and BIT+) h/w development, LEN and IASF-Bologna are continuously improving both the onboard (MSITel) firmware and the GSC software. The MSITel firmware allows the user to define onboard equipment operating procedure through an user friendly meta-language interface. The GSC software package allows the user to control and manage the bi-directional data flux through a User Graphic Interface (UGI), offering a complete real time Quick-Look of data. The GSC s/w allows several (authorized) GSC to share data in “slave” mode, that can be saved on the user’s hard disk. IASF-Bologna is developing a s/w package for a quick analysis of data as they are downloaded from the BIT (BIT+) internal memory stick.