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.

A Door and a Cable

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Today was crew module mock up day. First we routed power through the wall and ran velcro electrical cable lines up the walls. This eliminated the trip hazard and the mess of extension cords running through the hatch. We also made a reversible hatch door for the hatch. You mounted it outside and it a traditional hinge hatch like on a submarine. Flip it move it inside and it has the back frame and works as a plug hatch. The plan it to have the first flight vehicles use plug hatches, then we’ll move to hinged hatch.

New Prop for the Pup

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

This was a bit beat up used fiberglass prop. With a fair amount of wet sanding with 1000 grit, a touch of epoxy fill and a coat of clear UV protection  it came out nice.

I can just feel the Pup wanting to get out there and chase down balloons!

On Deck Description

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Joseph asked if there was a description of the on deck projects. There is but it’s a forty page project management doc and not on the web. Here’s the short version:

1. Tandem Airship              Status: Vehicle complete, First flight 2011

2. Positron Survey Mission 1 (Cloud Chamber High Rack). This will be a series of flights.
Status: Initial cloud chamber built and tested. Flight cloud chamber under construction.

3. Spaceflight Rocket Launch Box Flight

This will test the reel down mechanism for lowing the launch box away from the balloons. This flight will act as a dress rehearsal for the spaceflight rockoon mission.
Status: The structure is complete. Long length reel test to be done in the spring.

4. Spaceflight Rocket Low Altitude Ground launch.

This is both a training flight and a test of the new instrument configuration.
Status: Rocket, without instrumentation, is complete.

5. Crew Module Mockup
Status: Complete, but constantly being reconfigured.

6. Ascender 100 Air beam Rib.
Status: First generation rib built and tested. Second generation rib begin designed.

7. Swept wing RC plane         Status: Construction plans being drafted.

8. Jellyfish balloons, Box Jelly, Moon Jelly and Cloud Jelly. Balloon for 200,000 foot plus altitudes.
Status: Initial Box Jelly test complete.

9. Balloon launched rocket to 70 miles.            Status: Hip deep in paperwork.

10. Inner Lifting Cell Interface Deck Test Article.
Status: Materials purchased, assemble not yet started.

11. 25 foot Diameter Integrated Lifting Arm Dark Sky Station with Scale Crew Module.
Status: Pending #10.

12. Desktop Quad Engine
Status: Complete. Awaiting desert firing trip.

13. Small rocket launch from high rack.
Status: Two missions already completed. The vehicle for the third mission is complete and awaiting launch date.

14. Ascender 100 Nose Rib
Status: 80 percent rib completed and tested. Construction of flight rib not yet begun.

15. High altitude laser drag reduction system test.
Status: Dual laser test at 105,000 feet completed. Ten laser test pending getting six more lasers from  discarded 16X or better DVD writers. If you have one send it along.

16. Roller Deployed Balloon Flight Test Rig
Status: Two low altitude flight completed. High altitude flight pending mechanism rebuild.

17. Long Structural Air Beams.
Status: One 50 foot air beam built. Low pressure tests complete.

18. Ascender 100.   Status: Outer shell only complete.

Pup Back on Her Feet

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

She got a new gear, new wheels and axles. Now for the propeller.

Still from Away 37

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

The world on edge.

100,000 Video Views

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

We just broke 100,000 views of our videos on Youtube. That puts us right about the level of a ‘B’ sci fi movie. That’s somehow very fitting.  Help us reach our second 100,000 and watch a JPA video today. There are 58 of them in all. There’s bound to be one or two you’ve missed. The reason behind the madness is ad sales. If a lot of folks watch the videos we can start selling ads on them and help pay for spaceships.

JPA Youtube Channel

On Deck

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Here’s a drawing of our current projects and missions. Some of these are almost complete, most have a significant work done and a few are just getting started.

New ‘Space Chair’ Video

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Toshiba released another behind the scenes video of the chair commercial missions. It actually came out in February, but I had no idea it was out there till today. It has some great interviews with Bob and Paul and a bunch of other cool scenes I had never seen.

Be sure to check out the JP Video channel. There’s another “making of ” video of the chair mission that we put together:

http://www.youtube.com/johnmpowell#g/u