Archive for February, 2008

Be the Alien!

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Be the Alien

Away 28 Reimagined

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The new frame for Away 28 is just about complete. The team assembled the new drum mount and installed it last night. The next step will be assembling the new drum.

Orginal Away 28 Original Away 28

Away 28 Reimagined Away 28 Reimagined


Monday, February 25th, 2008

All kinds of work has been happening over quite a few vehicles.
Here’s what has been going on in the last week:

The Tuesday night crew has been knocking out carbon clamps for Away 28. They also replaced the carbon vertical poles.

Mark and Drew Mark and Drew laying carbon
On Saturday we were cutting and sewing ten by twenty foot fabric panels. These will set inside the balloon bag under the balloon during launch. It allows us to adjust the position of the balloon. Both sewing machines were flying as the parts were hemmed, joined, (pulled apart again) and rejoined. After this post I’m going to sew handles on the corners and it will be done.

The sensor cables on the tandem were too long. Off they came. They got trimmed, new connectors put on and remounted on the airship.

A wire running near the parachute cannon on Tandem was giving us trouble. There is a eight watt transmitter nearby and the wire was picking up noise. We tried filtering it out, but it was still a problem. We replaced the wire with coax. It’s a bit heavy but, it should do the trick.

We continued testing on the airship’s main controller. One glitch found and fixed.

Heavy duty construction was happening on the crew module mock up. The aluminum bracing for the crew couches was completed.

We completed the frames for Away 35, 36 and 37. They just look like skeletons without there decks and gear. Like a Christmas tree before you decorate it.

And last we started pulling the parts together for the Light Nose Cone project.

The Silence of Space?

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

I read the comment recently about the silence of space.
I think this idea started with the line from the movie Aliens,
“In space, no one can hear you scream”.

This is an odd notion. Space is completely filled with pulses,
beats, tones across the entire spectrum. Even gravity has
waves to it. Jupiter acts like four million heavy metal bands
are trapped inside.

It’s as if we’re in a symphony hall and Beethoven is thunder
around us shaking the shingles off the roof and we think to
ourselves, “why is it so quite in here?”

Top Ten Reasons to Live in the Stratosphere

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

10. It’s on Saturdays todo list.

9. 400-mile horizon sunsets.

8. Space Tourism without the zero-gee toilet.

7. Space Vacuum is the house band!!!!

6. I’m on my way to the rest of the solar system.

5. To build an orbital airship.

4. Building an orbital airship will really freak out Mike Griffin.

3. Have you ever looked down on lightening before?

2. I want to throw a paper airplane 20 miles.

1. I just want to live in the sky.

Balloon Tests the Sequel

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Fill test

It was back out to the park to work on the balloon nozzle issue. This test was critical to the launch of the Tandem airship. It was a beautiful day. Even though the solution was not at all what we expected the solution was in hand by the end of the day.

Here’s the pics of the test.

For background here is the first round of tests.

Growing the Team

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

The team has grown by nine folks in the last month. That’s a lot considering we’re a pretty small team to start with. New people are thrown right into the mix building hardware. We’re constantly training and cross training with the old hands so new people don’t really change the pace. Tuesday we used the making of a mount for Away 28 as a lesson in molding carbon.