LV-0 Black and White CCD Camera
Black and White CCD Video Camera (click for a larger picture)
No different than the CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) found in hand-held video cameras, ours is just cheap ($89.95) and black and white. We bought it from SuperCircuits, purveyors of enntsy-teentsy little cameras. The camera puts out a standard NTSC video signal which goes directly to our Amatuer TV (ATV) Transmitter for transmission to the ground. On the ground, we simply put the signal into a standard VCR for recording.
Although we were very pleased with the image quality, we'll definitely go for color on the next flight.
Mounting the camera is somewhat of a problem. First of all, it has to be really rigid. The problem is, a rigid mount doesn't necessarily mean the best camera angle. While flying straight up, the camera points slightly down towards the ground (~10deg). But when the parachutes blow, the nose cone is suspended upsidedown which is fairly disconcerting. Any public access video place should be able to fix this problem with their standard video editing equipment, but we haven't gotten around to it. Other people solve this problem by having mirrors which flip around at apogee, or a mechanism to spin the camera around. We may try and use a mirror that jettisons at apogee for LV1. Check the 'Schedule' page under 6/7/98 to see the video footage.
For more information on all of this junk, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!