ReHAB Balloon Platform

ReHAB Project is to develop a reliable, widely configurable, low maintanence high altitude balloon platform for university research groups. Our goal is to lift 3 kg (6.5 lbs) of science payload up to 30 km (100 000 ft) of altitude and safely recover it.

Our plan is establish our own ground station and mission control, so we could provide a comprehensive balloon service for research and engineering teams.



The lift is provided by latex weather balloon which burst at the apogee. Using standard latex weather balloons helps keep the launch cost low.




For recovery we use a parachute which helps keeping the payload and the landing environment safe. An 'open-parachute' configuration is used which provides a higher reliability for the recovery system.


The ReHAB Service Module provides two way radio communication, live tracking and payload management functions


The science payload is placed to a seperate gondola which connected to the ReHAB Service Module to provide comprehensive payload management functions.


In the unlikely event of any major malfunctions a backup GPS tracker is connected to the payload-train. With this independet backup system the chance of a successful recovery is enhanced.


The platform is based on the UPRA flight computer developed by our team. Our goal is to develop a modular flight computer which could fulfill various types of missions by adding or replace subsystems.


Unmanned Air Vehicle


Mobile Exploration Rover


Balloon and small-satellite missions

The subsystems connected via an internal bus which based on the CAN BUS physical layer. For basic operation four subsystems are needed. These are designated based on the standard space industry system configuration.


On-Board Computer (OBC)

The tasks of the On-Board Computer are to synchronize the sub-modules and overview the execution of the flight plan. During the mission it processes and logs the telemetry and house-keeping data, manages the GPS module, communicates with the sub-modules via the System Bus and manages the scientific payload and cameras. OBC has an integrated camera module which images are processed and stored. The system log and the pictures are stored on a decent data storage device.


Communication Sub-system (COM)

The Communication Sub-module provides a two-way communication channel between the balloon and the ground station. The telemetry and house-keeping parameters are available during the flight thanks to the live radio communication. Also it makes available to download science data and on board camera images.


Data Acquisition Unit (DAU)

The Data Acquisition Unit collects the environmental data of the balloon: external temperature, pressure, inertial data, and also manages the house-keeping sensor data of a third party science payload. The DAU could be used as an interface module for payloads which are not connected directly to the internal system bus.


Electric Power Subsystem (EPS)

The Electric Power System provides the proper bus voltage for each module and monitors the power consumption and battery level and battery temperature. If any of the modules have a malfunction the EPS can restart or completely turn off the malfunctioned subsystem.
If the battery temperature drops to dangerous level battery heating would be turn on.


The modules are realized on individual cards which size is kept as small as we could so later it could be also fit for small-satellite missions. We use the 'UPRA-Standard' form factor of 70x75mm card dimensions which could fit into a one unit CubeSat frame.

UPRA Standard

UPRA Standard



ReHAB CubeSat

The main design goals were to keep the size small and the mass low with the internal frame. The dimensions of the frame are based on the 1U CubeSat Standard: 100x100x100mm (3.9"x3.9"x3.9"). This was also a proof of concept design to prove the system could be suitable for small satellite missions and university students could practice the design principals of CubeSat class satellites.

The main parts of the frame are 3D printed ABS elements. These parts are light and durable enough for high altitude balloon flights. The role of the inner frame is to reliably attach the flight computer and external antennas and also to protect the electronic components against physical impacts.



The MATeF POC Probe was designed for testing and validating prototype modules. The main application of the probe is to test new UPRA modules without using the full scale scientific ReHAB module. Advantages of the MATeF probe are its smaller weight, easy maintenance.

Smaller science payload can be placed to the payload bay inside the capsule. This provides an easy to use, compact sized balloon gondola.


MATeF POC Variant A Configuration

MATeF POC Variant B2 Configuration (Currently available for science missions)



We would like to establish our own ground station and mission control facility for balloon tracking and control. The ground station which is right now under development will contain two main parts:


Automatic Radio System (ARS)

Mission Control (MC)


The ARS provides the radio link with the balloon. It is based on a Raspberry PI microcomputer which has the radio transceiver directly connected to its GPIO port. The systems was designed to be able to handle an antenna rotor for precise balloon tracking. The received radio messages will be automaticly uploaded to a database on the Mission Control Server.

The workstations on Mission Control connected to the Mission Control Server via internet/intranet and they have access to the flight database and current flight data. Each workstation has its dedicated function:

  • Flight: The Flight Director can overview the main parameters of the system
  • COM: The radio communication expert can monitor and control the main communication systems
  • Telemetry: Determines the actual position by the actual flight data and create predictions based on simulations and meteorological data
  • House-keeping: Overviews the live signs of the system
  • Science: Operates the science payload aaccording to the mission plan

Earlier flights were tracked on the BME-GND University Satellite Tracking Station, which we would like to thank to the BME-GND Team!