On May 10th PongSats and ATO engine experiments will be flown to 100,000 on two balloon vehicles.
This will be Away 102 and Away 116. Away 116 will be our 178th flight.
Last night we achieved our highest voltage yet from our MHD generator. This test used a larger motor and incorporated what we learned for magnetic focusing experiments we’ve been conducting. Our previous peak was 6.11 volts. This one ran at 8.94 volts. It sure beats the 0.2 volts we got when we started this research five years ago.
Half Tesla! This is our generation eight electromagnet. We just achieved 0.511 Tesla field strength with it. This lets us move on to the building the full Tesla magnet. The new magnet will be at the core of a large scale magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)test this summer in the desert. MHD is key process of our hybrid chemical/electric rocket engine for the Ascender airship.
It’s a little bit of everything today. We have magnet upgrades for the magnetohydrodynamics system, telemetry install on the high racks for the upcoming mission, Ascender 26 envelope modifications, battery mounts for the submarine and truss construction for the new Tandem airship.
We conducted a float test of our baby airship the Ascender 26 Saturday. It was a great shake out. The new internal configuration worked great. The inner cell held the helium but the outer envelope just won’t hold air. The outer envelope is about 11 years old, we’re recycling it from another program. The outer silicone coating it just about gone. The result was a very floppy vehicle. On the first float we usually just go a few inches off the ground and see how sound the structure is. However even with a floppy envelope we pushed a little and got her a few feet into the sky.
Just a few inches off the ground.
Charles and Steve working the valves.
Even with zero pressure in the outer envelope the inner cell system and the carbon keel performed well.
JPA were tasked once again to show that space is for everybody! On National Margarita Day we send blenders, cameras and a particular famous mix to the edge of space.
The team travel to Arizona for this flight. Balloons were flown, margarita were mixed and frozen by the atmosphere itself and amazing video was created.
This brings our flight total to 176.