29 and 30 PongSats,
ads and launch bags.
We flew two missions, Away
29 and 30. It was a great success. Two flights, one after the other was a
great challenge for the team.
Away 29 Mission Results
The Away 29 was a ‘High Rack’ Mission. A
‘High Rack’ is a stack of foam shelves held
together with a carbon fiber frame. Equipment was placed
inside insulated boxes and mounted on the shelves. The entire package
was carried aloft by two weather balloons.
This mission was the second mission using launch bags. The balloons
were contained in giant bags on the ground. At launch long Velcro
“zippers” were pulled releasing them. The bag
system lets us launch in high winds.
Away 29 lifted off from the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada,
Saturday morning, November 4, 2006. The launch bags worked perfectly.
Away 29 began its climb to the edge of space. At 95,100 feet one of the
balloons popped. Away 29 descend on one balloon all the way to landing.
Morning in the desert.
We took 2460 in flight
Our last position fix on Away 29 was at 15,000 above the ground heading toward a mountain range. We estimated the
vehicle cleared the range and was in the next valley. We spent the day searching the valley listening for the homing beacon
with no luck. It turns out Away 29 didn't clear the range. We were in the wrong valley. Fortunately a group of hunters were
in the right valley and became JPA Recovery Team One.
A great big thank you to Cole Hatcher, Johnny Hernandez, Jace Billingsley and the photographer and leader of this intrepid band,
Maximum Altitude: 95,100 feet
Weight: 17.5 pounds
Average Climb Rate: 1000 feet per minute
Flight Duration: 3 hours, 32 minutes
Minimum Temperature: -66.3 C (-87.3 F)
Recovery: 96 miles down range
Away 30 Mission Results
The Away 30 was also a ‘High Rack’ Mission. It did not have
the camera booms, but it did have a PongSat saddlebag mounted under the
main deck and it carried a camcorder. Away 30 was also bag launched
with balloon bags.
The team got Away 30 into the air an hour after Away 29. Moments after liftoff we could tell something was wrong.
The vehicle was climbing too slowly. Away 30 would not reach the goal altitude before it flew beyond the recovery zone.
We decided to end the flight. At 17,600 feet the command was sent to
release the balloons. Away 30 landed under parachute six miles away
from the launch site.
Maximum Altitude: 17,600 feet
Weight: 17.0 pounds
Average Climb Rate: 250 feet per minute
Flight Duration: 35 minutes
Minimum Temperature: -10.3 C (13.5 F)
We carried over
600 PongSat student experiment between the two flights.
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page was last edited on January 9, 2007
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