Archive for January, 2008

Another arrow in the quiver

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Nothing feels quite as good as nailing a difficult problem. Saturday was spent tackling the nozzle height problem. It was a lot of work and we were all exhausted at the end. Going to space is just a matter of crossing the problems off the list. This one may not seem like much, but it gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility in launch. Here’s the page with all the pics and a description of the test.
Nozzle fill height test

Tuesday Night Build

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

This week we added another construction session. Tuesday nights are going to be used for special project sessions. The projects for this year are Away 28 upgrade, Ascender rib test article, Ascender upper deck test article and a rocket launch box for balloon flight. Tuesday will also be a chance for our coders to get together to swap programming notes. This first Tuesday Away 28 was torn down and the upgrade plans laid out. It will fly again this summer. It is a test bed for the Dark Sky Station.

Drew and K'John
Drew and K’John planning A-28 upgrades.

Lost Rocket Video

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

This was a flight we did in 2004. There is already a video online from one angle. This video is from a second camera. The second camera was closer and from the other side of the rocket. We came across the footage while reviewing a pile of unmarked tape.

The sound is the best part so crank it up!

Top Ten Reasons to go to Venus

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

10. To feel the heat!

9. Mars is so passé.

8. Yellow sky matches my hair.

7. One Gee is the gravity for me.

6. I like a planet with a little atmosphere.

5. To get a feel for global warming.

4. I was on my way to Mercury when…

3. I need my explore strange new worlds merit badge.

2. To stand where the sky above my head is yellow, the ground beneath my feet is 900 degrees and the air around me is acid.

1. I just want to go.

Lots of Details

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

A lot of work was accomplished in a lot of areas Saturday.

Sewing on the new balloon launch bag continued. We got through 128 feet of velcro. Unfortunately that is only 1/4 of the way. The new electronic filters for the Tandem’s main controller were tested and pass with flying colors, (does anyone know where that expression comes from?). With with first filters good another filter array using the same method was designed and build before the end of the day. The e-guys were really cranking.

It was another day of seat modifications for the crew modules. Another round of angle changes and team measurements. They’re staring to get pretty comfy. The in flight adjustment mechanism design is really getting close. The test Tandem parachute cannon was completed. We be doing a few parking lot firings soon. Time to warn the neighbors about bangs. We continued reviewing a stack of old unmarked tapes. Two more treasures were found. Look for some cool new/old video soon. Finally two of the panels for the Away 35 parachute were sewn together.

We dragged out at 11pm tired but happy.

Bill and Ed William, Ed and the cannon.

Kevin and Bob The E-Dudes

Tracy and the New Machine Tracy and the new sewing machine!!

Floating Venus Colonies

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Jon Goff mentions one of my favorite ideas in a recent article. This is one of the thing we would like to do when we get ATO up and running.

Floating Venus Colony

Rocket Designing

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

This fall we will be conducting two rocket launches. One rocket will be a three and a half inches in diameter and eight foot long. The other Will be six inches in diameter and twelve feet long. Both rockets are upgrades of what we’ve flown before.

The three inch diameter rocket will have the biggest change. Our earlier version used a phenolic airframe reinforced with Kevlar in key areas. We flew that version to 72,232 feet. The new rocket will have thin carbon shells over a nomex honeycomb core. It will need all new molds for the airframe and nose cone.

The bigger rocket, The ML, will be casted from the existing molds. It will likely be the last one off the existing molds. Later it will also be upgraded to shell and honeycomb core airframe type. We were going to upgrade both to the new airframe, but new molding for the big one will a bit much for now. The existing airframe will still meet the mission goals for one more flight.

ML and Spaceflight                       ML-1

ML and 3inch diameter rocket          ML-1
Spaceflight rocket 3 inch diameter rocket in flight.
For us rockets are not an end themselves. They are a tool for airship development. They will serve as delivery vehicles for Mach Gliders and testbeds for engine and drag reduction technologies.