View from Tandem

Here’s a few clips while we sort through the video.


8 Responses to “View from Tandem”

  1. Stephen says:

    Wow guys… looks like a clip from a SCI-FI film! Amazing achievement… can’t wait to see the ME2 footage… keep up the good work!!!

  2. Brad Heisler says:

    First flights are supposed to have lots of problems. Tandem seems to have performed very well! Not much “shake down” in her shake down cruise. Nice work making it look so easy.

  3. blumunky says:

    Amazing footage. Great mission.

    How far did you “drive” with the propellers? Did you just rotate in place, or did you travel horizontally?

  4. Dave Hein says:

    Nice video. It seems like the tandem configuration would eliminate the spin that normally occurs with a single balloon. This should make for a very stable platform to perform experiments and/or launch rockets.

    How to you keep the platform horizontal? I suppose it’s done by ensuring that both balloons are equally inflated. When it reaches the highest altitude one of the balloons will burst first. This would cause it to descend, and the other balloon should never burst. Is that what happened in this mission?

  5. Anthony Gregory says:

    We have the capability to simultaneously cut both balloons. We decided to run to burst of one of the balloons. We then sent the signal to cut the other balloon. Otherwise, the jet stream would’ve carried the tandem too far away because of the slow decent with an inflated balloon.

  6. blumunky says:

    My apologies if this has been covered before, but why do you let the balloons burst? Is it unavoidable? Could you just design the system to go up to the desired height and then slowly let the gas out to descend, or let all the gas out quickly and then descend by parachute? Thank you for sharing the images and the information.

  7. James Giovagnoli says:

    Totally cool application of proven technology with your own twist. Seems to prove that private industry will do space faster/cheaper/smarter than any government, doesn’t it?

    As a machinist, I am always fascinated by the construction of new machines.

    Good luck to you!!

  8. Karl Hallowell says:

    blumunky, the key reason for having the balloons burst is to insure that the system comes down. Such balloons can potentially float for weeks meaning an almost sure loss of payload in that case. And as they float down, they’d eventually stray into altitudes where there are aircraft. We reduce the risks of the mission by inflating the balloon so that it is guaranteed to pop, even if the balloon cutdown systems don’t work. We’ve had trouble with that in the past, though we appear to have that problem addressed these days.

    As to your other question, we tested primarily our ability to control the system remotely from the ground. The setup was not full power, else you’d see much great changes in direction during the turning tests. We’ll have to study the trajectory data to see how much we moved horizontally.

    Dave Hein, the vehicle was carefully balanced front and aft so that weightings of each end differed by about one to two ounces out of 32 pounds. That’s less than a 1% difference in weight between the two ends. Similarly, the balloons were carefully metered to be as close to each other as we could manage.