Review Article

Directional Camera Control on High Altitude Balloons

  • Matthew Isaac Plewa (Iowa State University)
  • Brent M. Scharlau (Iowa State University)


The research reported in this paper examined the design and control of a gimbal for solar eclipse tracking and video recording. The gimbal design required 3 axes of rotation to allow for a full range of motion. Utilizing individual brushless motors for each of the axes ensures minimum rotational requirements on each axes. In controlling the gimbal, both a mathematical and visual method was utilized. The mathematical method is a modeled version of what is currently used for solar array pointing. The visual method looks at where the position of the sun is within the image and determines what angle changes are required. Utilizing a combination of these methods helps to eliminate error that accumulates within the onboard gyros due to the erratic behavior of balloon motion during flight. Elimination of this error ensures accurate video recording of the solar eclipse.


How to Cite:

Plewa, M. I. & Scharlau, B. M., (2021) “Directional Camera Control on High Altitude Balloons”, Journal of High Altitude Ballooning 1(1). doi:



Published on
09 Aug 2021
Peer Reviewed