Away 43, 44, 45, 46 were real working missions. We had four primary tasks. Tracking Telemetry System side by side comparison, Balloon separation system testing, rocket launch systems tests and to carry PongSats. We had a pile of secondary objective like getting to 120,000 feet and testing new materials.
The tracking system test was successful. We been working on this for a while. I’m relieved to get this one behind us.
Our balloon release system is still giving us problems. It’s back to the cold box and vacuum chamber.
The Rocket launch systems (fire control, rocket motor heaters and launch detect) worked great. Just as a placeholder we used small 17 inch rocket as part of the test. The launch systems work the same as for a 17 inch rocket as they do for a 12 foot one. Including the small rocket gave us a change to work on procedures for live rockets as well. Away 45 and Away 46 each carried two rockets. On Away 44 we fired the rockets at low altitude, (11,000 feet). On Away 45 we ran the test at 80,000 feet. The second launch control system also worked prefect, however the rocket motors did not ignite. (little motor are very tricky to light at high altitude).
The team flew 153 PongSats student experiments!!
Our peak altitude was just over 108,000 feet. That was on Away 44. We a bit disappointed we didn’t get higher. That challenge get shifted to the next launch.
We got most of the way though the Jellyfish balloon launch, however the Jellyfish isn’t set up top be bagged launch and is very sensitive to gusts. It ended up just too windy and we aborted the flight.
The new honeycomb paper structure performed superior to our tradition foam and carbon parts. We’re pretty happy about that. It’s cheaper and quicker to build from.
Morning Setup PongSats!
Mission Control Away 45
Balloon Prep Away 43 Launch
Away 43 Away 46
Away 45 Launch
Away 45 Launch!
Away 44 low altitude launches Away 45 up top
Trail Companion Away 46 landing site
The billowing chute made the vehicles easier to spot.
Away 44 landing site. It’s that while speck just down from the fourth ridge straight out.