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SQL Server in Space - HASSP

By Steve Jones,

Many of us that work with technology will play with side projects at times. The classic application when I was a young man was a software application to organize your book or record album collection. That morphed to CD and DVD tracking systems as I got older, and even Dell got into this genre with their sample DVD store application that customers could use to test their hardware. These days I see plenty of young software developers building all sorts of applications. Tweetbots, Chat with SignalR,  websites scrapers, mapping tools, mobile games, and of course, Internet of Things related software that accesses sensors or controls some device like a Raspberry Pi or Arduino.

One of the more interesting projects that I saw recently was the High Altitude SQL Server Project from Drew Furguiele (b|t). Drew had this idea of launching a high altitude balloon with a twist. Since he's a data guy, he wanted to see if he could run SQL Server on some small hardware and include that in a box. His hardware is interesting, and I learned something. I knew SQL Server wouldn't run on a Raspberry PI, so I was curious about the computer chosen. The Intel Joule is a neat choice, though it's being discontinued.

Drew and his team successfully launched his HASSP a few weeks ago and recovered the payload. The balloon went up quickly (Check out the YouTube videos, pop around 1:41) and managed to get up to around 98,000 feet before the balloon burst and the payload returned to earth on its parachute. Unfortunately the computers shut down around 30 minutes into the flight and the team is still analyzing that result. There is a little data from the SQL Server, which should be uploaded soon.

Overall this was a really interesting project, and one that has inspired me to think about what I can do. My wife has been wanting to measure horse activity, so I've started looking to see if there are pedometers we could put on a horse and receive data from. Alternatively, maybe some inexpensive GPS sensors that might stream data around the property. And, of course, the need for a SQL Server somewhere in the barn. Maybe I'll get my own SSP, a BESSP, Barn, Embedded database.

Perhaps there's a data project that's interested you for some time. Take some inspiration from HASSP and let us know what project(s) you've been working on.

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