Archive for November, 2008

Second Ascender 100 Rib Test Pics

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Inflation, inner cell making and testing and rib fitting.

Beginning inflation The big blue worm After 20 mins of inflation Inner cell construction Inner cell testing Inside rib fitting
Inside rib fitting Inside rib fitting Inside rib fitting Inside rib fitting Inside rib fitting

Ascender Rib Fit Test 2

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Last weekend we again had one of the Ascender 100 arms inflated in the parking lot. We were going to test both the original rib that had been extended and a new rib. During the initial inflation there was a POP! The inner cell of the original rib burst. We continued with the tests of the new rib. This rib design was significantly better that the first one. The test also pointed out a number of flaws in the design we well as a couple of operational problems. No problem through, that is what the test was for. The next generation of rib is being designed. I suspect we’ll need eight to nine generation to really hone it in. We’re also working on new filling gear with new low pressure gauges. We need also to monitor the ambient pressure inside the main envelope in addition to pressure inside the rib. It’s way too easy to over pressure the outer envelope and creating forces to great for the rib to overcome.

The team really put in a hard days work on this one.

Here’s some pics from the Wednesday night build session before the test:

Inside the rocket launch box front Inside the rocket launch box back foiling the Launch Box 2
Inside the launch box after we finished foil lining the foam.

Original rib modified
The modified original rib.

Ascender 100 Work

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

This is from the size check of the test rib two weeks ago. We just finished the second test rib. If it doesn’t rain we’ll be checking it’s fit this coming weekend.


Away 28 Materials Testing

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

A group of engineering students from California State University Sacramento lead by our own K’John are managing the Away 28 upgrade project. They’re in the process of an end to end structural analysis of the vehicle. Yesterday they prepared a segment of carbon tubing for load testing. The challenge is putting on mounting rings that are stronger than the tube so it can be mounted in the testing machine.

Gluing on mounting rings Gluing on mounting rings

Orginal Away 28
Original Away 28

Antenna Stands and Launch Boxes

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

We been changing to new frequencies on our telemetry systems. One of the results is that we no longer need the big “double boomer” phased antennas. We still use one of the single long antennas. The single antenna stand doesn’t need to be as beefy a stand as the double does. The old stand could hold two antennas in high winds without a problem but it came with a price. It takes two people thirty minutes to assemble each one of them in the field. They’re so complicated that we always have an antenna assemble training session before each mission.

Saturday the team took one of the dish antenna stands and modified it for single long antenna use. It came out fantastic. The new stand only takes five minutes to setup. Not only will the new stand save us gobs of time in the field, but it’s much easier to pack and has a much smaller part count.

Ed and Emmett and the new antenna stand Ed, Emmett and the new stand.

Old Antenna Stand The old stand.

Work continues on the refurbishing the rocket launch box. Saturday the two layers of foil were glued to the inside surfaces. The foil protects the foam from catching fire from the rocket’s blast. We’re be using this box for a systems test flight. The rocket will be there but not launched. However the foil changes the radio environment of the box. It needs to be there so the test will be accurate.
Foiled Again! (with apologizes to Dr. Impossible) Foiling the box interior.

Here are some older pics of launch boxes:

Launch Boxes and Rocket Moments before a Launch Rocket emerging from a box Launch box with wings

India Landed on the Moon Today!

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Congratulation !!!!!!!

We really need to get busy.

More Rib Work

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Last night we made a new inner cell for the rib. The inner cell is a 14 meter long 50cm in diameter tube with a high pressure and low pressure nozzles attached. It’s cut and assembled from 0.7 mil sheet poly. We also added snaps to the rib access panels. The velcro was starting to pull away a bit on the last full pressure test. The snaps will help keep the panels in place.