Archive for June, 2009

Flight 100, Away 38

Monday, June 29th, 2009

At 99,340 feet.


The JPA Zone.

The JPA Zone.

Rolling to the Desert

Friday, June 26th, 2009

The team just roll out with the mission control van in the lead. I’ll be following in about 5 minutes. Tomorrow at 4am we’ll be on the lakebed for the launch of Away 38. This will be our 100th flight.

This mission is pretty packed. Lots of new gear being checked out and some special stuff once we’re at the edge.

New High Altitude Propeller Video

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Here’s a recut version of the Away 22 high altitude propeller test mission from six years ago. I’ve put in the scenes from the recently recovered camcorder.

See “Home Again” post on May 27th.


Mission Prep

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Saturday we continued getting ready for the Away 38 mission. We pulled the main controller and one of the camera controllers off the vehicle for chase a couple of problems. We spent most of the day in pursuit of a spurious balloon release firing. We’re narrowed it down to the main controller that flew on the Away 35 mission. It only happens on a fully charged battery and only if heavy transmission loads are experienced in the first 10 minutes of operation. It sounds like a bad transistor in the relay amp, but we haven’t found it yet. We replaced the controller, but we’re going to shake it out some more to be sure.

The second camera controller got a software upgrade. It was reseting after it executed a command sent to it my the main controller. It didn’t effect it’s function, but it needed to get fixed. Normally the camera controllers are autonomous. This one we’re linked to the main controller so it’s tied in to the launch command.

A new cable harness for the still cameras was finished and the search for the mission panel continued. When the new carpet went in everything was in chaos. Somehow we managed to lose a panel of a new balloon we’re making. How can you lose something 28 feet long!!

Here’s some more images from the test:

Rocket 1

Rocket 1

Rocket 2

Rocket 2




Away 38 Preflight Testing

Monday, June 1st, 2009

We conducted a full duration test of the Away 38 vehicle on Saturday. The vehicle was hung from a pole to simulate hanging from the balloon. The test went really well. The vehicle carries two small rockets and they were launch from the vehicle as well. There was one problem with the balloon release system we need to chase. The rocket launch boxes are one time use. We’re already made their replacement. We need to switch them out and make a new cable for the video camera controller. After that Away 38 will get another full duration test (without the rocket launches) then will be good to go.

Frames from on board video of the small rockets leaving Away 38 during ground testing.