Archive for July, 2008

Floating to Space Review

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Universe Today wrote a review of Floating to Space.

Radios and Lasers

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

The last of the new radio gear arrived for Away 35. Anytime a new piece of hardware goes into the mix it all needs to be retested. We always conduct the range testing in the same place. We “shoot the beam” down the road by the shop that has a tremendous about of radio interference. We walk down the road carrying the system stopping every hundred feet. While we’re doing that the folks in the mission control van are sending commands to the unit and looking at signal strengths.

It was a good day to be in mission control and a bad day to be walking the road. It was well over 100 degrees and we just melted. Mission control was nice and cool with it’s industrial strength air conditioner.

Mark and Bob
Mark and Bob emerging from mission control.

The laser housings for the Away 35 laser array test arrived. We couldn’t resist firing the lasers up. It’s our own Death Star. Although on the mission they won’t be mount with a rubber band.

Away 35 lasers

Away 35 Nearing Completion

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Last Saturday was another day of bits and boards for Away 35. We modified the main controller’s power harness. We reprogrammed the extra camera controller to take more high altitude pictures and less on the way up. We also reprogrammed the backup balloon release system to take into account the higher altitude Away 35 will reach. After the system was reinstalled on the vehicle we ran a full duration test.

A duller, but harder and very important was also done. The system shelves were completely gone through and reorganized, (ah the excitement of space).

We’re about a four days away from systems completion. After that we’ll be running the full up test. Then on to flight.

Last Saturday the Sacramento L-5 Society Chapter had their monthly meeting at our facility. They had two speakers.  One talked about what’s happening with Lunar exploration and the other (our own Karl) talked about Helium-3 and fusion.

Upside Down on Top of the World

Friday, July 11th, 2008

One of our vehicles did a 360 degree roll just after balloon burst. It took this shot while hanging upside down at 106,000 feet.

JPA Away Mission

Out the Window

Friday, July 11th, 2008

This is not a JPA photo, but I would like it to be. This is what I want to see out the window.

Taken by the Cassini Spacecraft, it shows Alpha Centauri seen from the rings of Saturn. I must go and see that scene with my own eyes.
Alpha Centauri above the rings of saturn

Ascender Pic from 2004

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Ascender 175

The underside of one arm of the 175 foot Ascender airship.


Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

It’s not “No bucks, No Buck Rogers”.

It’s “No work, No Kirk”.