2017-10-02

Stanford SSI uses Aiven InfluxDB in high-altitude

Aiven goes to near space with InfluxDB

A new day in space development 


Historically, space development has remained the sole purview of government agencies due to its astronomical cost: that has changed. 

Today, new technologies are reducing those costs, allowing smaller groups with big ambitions to take small steps and giant leaps in pushing space development forward. 

One such group is Stanford SSI, a project-based student group that covers everything from high-altitude balloon platforms, to cube satellites, all the way through to rockets. 

In fact, they recently broke the world record for the longest duration flight by a latex balloon with the launch of SSI-52...a pretty big achievement for a group only established in 2013. 


What does Aiven have to do with balloons? 


These aren’t your everyday balloons, but sophisticated platforms carrying complex scientific payloads into near-space and over tremendous distances: the stakes are a little higher. 

Stanford SSI uses its ValBal balloon platform to reach altitudes as high as 120,000 feet while testing cutting-edge electronics and mechanics. 

Their tests produce a massive amount of data, data that needs to be sent back. Kai Marshland, their Operations Lead, explains it best, 


“...we want to store a highly variable set of data, analyze it over time, and manipulate it with minimal latency...Aerospace demands the utmost in quality, and that’s exactly what Aiven provides.” 


In short, Aiven’s capabilities provide an ideal fit. For our part, we think it’s pretty cool to test our technology in demanding, high-altitude research flights. 


Aiven tests InfluxDB at the edge of space 


For latest launch on September 30, 2017, SSI-59, Stanford SSI used our InfluxDB service for their Database as a Service needs. 

The goal for this launch? SSI-59 will use the same ValBal platform to test lighter and more efficient mechanics and avionics that should increase the platform’s endurance. 

But most importantly, it’s the communications system that they are most excited to test, which Kai describes as “Revolutionary.” Here’s why, 


"Having high-bandwidth communications means that we no longer have to worry about recovering the payload over the vast areas ValBal can fly over." 

For instance, it will allow them to fly a radar glaciology payload over Greenland to measure the thickness of its ice sheets and transmit the data it collects almost instantaneously back to where they launched the payload from...no more worrying about recovering the platform.


We operate in the cloud, but reach for the stars 


Just one of many, SSI-59 is part of a long-term aim to redefine the high-altitude balloon research world, one that will provide a better understanding of the planet we live on. 

This is the first time that Stanford SSI will be using our technology for their data needs and will provide an excellent use case for demonstrating the capabilities of our technology. 

But, the idea that our technology can be applied to space development is most thrilling. After all, Aiven may be a database cloud service provider, but we don’t mind flying above them.

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