Archive for March, 2008

Our 15 minutes of Fame

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Team JPA will be appearing on the National Geographic Channel. Our moment of fame will be Tuesday 1st April 2008 at 8pm est.

We are in an episode of “Naked Earth” called “Our Atmosphere”. The show isn’t about us but does have scenes of us working balloons and an interview about the atmosphere.

Everyone put your VCR’s in record mode!

The Team Says “HI”

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

A big hello goes out to all our friends attending the Space Conference!!


Live from the Build

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

The gang is all here. Solder is melting and foam board is flying.

Any questions out there for the team?

Today’s List

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Here’s what’s on the todo list for today:

-Tape GPS Track boxes (3)
-Finish GPS Track data cables (3)
-Make GPS Track power cables (3)
-Determine controller box size
-Make three controller boxes
-Inventory 900 Mhz equipment
-Inspect 3000g balloon bag
-Test first new controller


Saturday, March 29th, 2008

The fins look great! These are the anti-roll descent fins for the high racks. Previous fins were foam and only good for one flight. On Away 34 we switched to nylon fins with a carbon leading edge. These worked, but were time consuming to rig in the field. The new fins are also nylon, but have a full carbon frame. They quickly bolt on the vehicle and are reusable.
It took the rest of the week, but the new flight camera are all modified and tested.

Cameras, Controllers and Fins

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

I’m getting ready for tonights work session. We’ll be cutting into digital cameras. A little Frankenstein surgery is required to get them to talk to the computer. I tried to do them yesterday, however the eye doctor put drops in my eyes and I couldn’t see the little surface mount components. Those things are REALLY small.

The high rack fins are also on the menu for tonight. We had them all completed then discover they were all an inch wide and wouldn’t fit on their mounts. Four have been corrected, five to go.

Time to melt solder. We will be starting on replicating flight controllers. These take about 18 hours each. We’ve get a start on them at least tonight.

Decks and Boxes

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Paul and the tomato

Where else would you find a rocket motor ejector and a sewing tomato being used to construct a low temperture instrument housing?

This weeks focus has been on structural parts. We been cranking out foam and carbon decks and insulated instrument housing for the Away missions.

PongSat Alert!

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

The Away 35 mission will fly within the next 60 days. There is space for about 200 more PongSats. This will be a balloon flight to 100,000 feet.
Anyone who want to fly with us let me know. PongSats are flown at no charge, but first come first serve.

There is also space for two $100 high altitude ads.


More Checklists, Troubleshooting and High Racks

Monday, March 17th, 2008

With four vehicles being worked on at once it really gets busy.

The Tandem is getting close. We’re down to running and rerunning the checklists and “ground flying” the mission over and over.

We had to replace the command/control radio on Tandem. We were seeing a frequency shift when it is initially plugged in. It looks like a software issue in the radio. We don’t expect it be unplugging in the field and can’t in flight so it shouldn’t be an issue. However, “shouldn’t” be a problem is just too ugly. We like “is not a problem, so we pulled it.
The team finished off all the fins for the three new High Rack. This ‘high Rack-Away mission can get confusing: a high rack is a type of vehicle is itself. The Away NN is the individual vehicle. As is Away 35, 36 and 37 are all High Racks.

KJohn Focused
K’John finding the center of a foam disk.

Bob Testing Tandem
Bob working on the Tandem

Blues Over the Shop

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Saturday while we were busy building, three miles away there was an airshow. One of the turning points for the Blue Angles was right over our building. This pic was taken five feet out the door, straight up.

Blues over the shop

Dark Sky Station Development Path

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Dark Sky Station Development Path
Building cities in the sky.

Parachute Monday

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Monday was spent sewing lines onto the new parachute. It was one of those jobs that looks like it take 20 minutes, but ends up taking five hours. These parachutes are for the next three Away missions.



Saturdays Build Session

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Saturday we worked on the Tandem along with the Away 35, 36, and Away 37 vehicles. For the Away’s we sewed velcro tensioning straps on  all nine fins, (three go on each vehicle). We also refinished and mounted the upper decks for all three.

We been working and reworking the Tandem checklist. It takes five pages to turn this ship on. Each run through we get more familiar with the process and we make changes in the checklist. Our is complete powerup,testing and systems go for flight in fifteen minutes. The main this is to accomplish this without rushing. It at about four hours right now. Most of the time was working out the process change. We also were relabeling all the connection so that they match each other and the checklist.
Bob and Mark     Making Fins
Working Tandem       Making Fins
Paul and Away 35
Paul and the Away 35 Frame

Ah Ha!!

Dance for the Children’s Miracle Network

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

Our friend and supporter Peter Dulude is hosting a country dance on March 15 to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.


If you’re in Canada this is the place to be! If not at least checkout there website.

Peter Dulude

Tandem in Google Sketch

Friday, March 7th, 2008

We finally got the Tandem rendered in Google Sketch.

Tandem Tandem

Tandem Tandem