Twilio in Space! Powers HacDC Space Blimp Tracking

This is probably one of the coolest and most unique use cases for Twilio I’ve ever seen. HacDC, a hacker space in Washington D.C., is using Twilio as part of their tracking and recovery system for a balloon/blimp they sent up to take pictures of the curvature of the Earth, with a black space backdrop on August 21st.

This is part of the Hackerspaces in Space project.  The image to the right is one of the first taken by the blimp!  See more images in this Flickr set

How HacDC is Using Twilio in Space

As explained in an email from Todd Fine earlier this week:

Our package sends messages through APRS radio, https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Automatic_Packet_Reporting_System, which are then grabbed from a website and distributed to our recovery team through Twilio voice and SMS.”

During the launch and flight, participants could call (202) 559-1100 to follow along with the progress of the blimp and get live lat/long coordinates.  As explained in this blog post:

“By calling this number during the day, people will have the opportunity to listen to the current data about the blimp’s status and location and to receive SMS messages with the same information, including direct links to Google Maps. The flight team will also have the option of recording updates into the phone menu system.”

It sounds like the launch was a success, and the pictures are great.  Congratulations to the team, and thank you for using Twilio as part of your project.