Archive for December, 2010

Rocket in Action

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

We have flown the PSL Rocket five times before.  Here’s some pics from those tests. At the time we were painting all our rockets black so they would show up on the bright white desert floor. The long white boxes are the launch platforms for when the rocket was launched as a rockoon.

All these flights were before the turn of the century.  Now doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?

PongSat Launcher Rocket

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

New name for an old vehicle.  This was the back up vehicle for the rocket we launch from balloon and flew to 72,233 feet back in 1999. This is the rocket we’ll be using to carry PongSats to space. It will carry 20 PongSats to 65 miles when launched from 100,000 feet. Publicly we called this rocket the Spaceflight Rocket. Internally we called it the “M” Rocket because it runs on an “M” motor (7000N).  Now it’s the PongSat Launcher, and that’s what it does. It will be carried aloft by the Tandem airship, a Dark Sky Station or straight balloons depending on the mission requirements.

This is also our entry into the suborbital reusable launch vehicle arena.

We’re cleaning up all the old molds and tooling and putting her back into production.

Next MHD Step

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

All the MHD generator units have been broken down. We’re building them back up with smaller tiles. The large tiles tend to crack under the high thermal shock. The smaller tiles should be able to expanding and contract.

One generator will be for the ‘D’ and ‘E’ motors with the Faraday configuration. This will let us start to get a electrical power to thrust curve (we have the ‘C’ data). The other unit will use the small motors and be set up in a Hall effect configuration. I expect twenty or so firings before we see our first electron.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

It’s Christmas Eve and the shop elves are busy clipping propeller blades and building a cardboard drawing board.

Have a safe and happy one!

Foam Hatch for a Foam Spaceship

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Here’s the new hatch for the crew module mock up:

Sand Bricks in the News

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

A reporter from a local news station just spent a couple of hours in the shop filming a story about the Sand Bricks (the other thing we do). He also spend time filming on the JPA side of the house for a future story.

It will be a late night in the shop tonight. He’s coming back at 10pm to film a live teaser piece. The story is going to air tonight at 10:30 on FOX40NEWS. It should go on their website soon after.

Working on the Hundred

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Inside the the Ascender 100. This is from about a year ago.