Archive for January, 2011

Four Firings and Thirty PongSats

Monday, January 31st, 2011

We conducted four firings of the Mini-MHD generator Saturday. Test 29 was a baseline run for the new datalogger (weird data). Test 30 was with a composite motor and the old datalogger. We want to start exploring how power varies with motor chemistry. Test 31 was another firing with the new datalogger, (no data). After more jiggering and poking Test 32 was ran with the new datalogger and yea good data!

In addition we cut in half 30 PongSats for a Museum Day with students and finally got everything back in place from the flood.

PongSats in Space PDF

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

This is a general overview of the idea:

PongSats in Space PDF

More PongSats in Space

Friday, January 28th, 2011

None of this two or three payload stuff….

PongSats in Space

Friday, January 28th, 2011

An idea we’re kicking around:

JP at Dryden

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I’m down at Edwards AFB today (the NASA Dryden side of the house) talking with the NASA folks.

Note: Folks have been asking why I was there. I must tell you, after a day if discussions I was asking myself the very same question…

Small Motor Run, MHD Test 28

Monday, January 24th, 2011

When we looked at the data for MHD generator test 27 all we saw were a file full of zeros. That was our first run with a composite motor.  Was it the non conductive coating that the motor deposited on the electrodes? Did the blown out fragments of copper short across the electrodes? Is the difference in motor chemistry such that the current is lower than we can detect?    One thing we know when faced with too many unknowns, it’s time to get methodical.

For a start we’ve going to test two small motors, one black power and one composite on the same unit. We’re going to look at electrode voltage instead of current to put it in a better range for the data sampling.

Saturday we made a new set of copper electrode plates, cleaned up the mini-MHD generator and pressed it back into service.  We got the first firing, the small black powder motor, completed.

Whole Aircraft Parachute

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Plan A was to install a ballistic parachute from BRS. However after being back ordered for over 11 months they said they won’t allow an installation on a Sky Pup. I wished they would have mentioned that 11 months earlier when we paid for it and sent them a full set of the installation plans for the Sky Pup. They made vague noises about mounting on an all foam airplane. At least we got the money back.   On to plan B. We got a Astir 62 parachute made by Aile DE K of Switzerland. It was intended to be a reserve parachute for a Tandem Paraglider.  We’ve added a spring deployed drogue and we’ll run the rip cord down to a handle in the cockpit. The next step is to open up the top of the Pup and build a box and hard mount. The entire rig weights fifteen pounds and moves the CG back a quarter inch.

We want to install a similar system for the crew module. Normally it will land with the Dark Sky Station, however in an emergency we want to be able to separate and come down by chute. The experience installing the parachute on the Pup will really help us down the road.