Ascender 9 Inflation Test

June 19th, 2017

We completed Ascender 9 outer envelope. It was time to inflate it and see if we sewed it right. Our next step is to mount the truss structure.Then it will be on to installing inner lift cells, and all the plumbing. The motors go on at the end.

It also was our first real work in the new building.

Away 123 Mission Date

June 9th, 2017

Away 123 has been scheduled and rescheduled. The weather has been making us just a bit crazy.

Away 123 is now on for June 25th. It will carry PongSats, MiniCubes, ATO experiments, a helium release valve and six cameras.

Working the Program

June 8th, 2017

Ascender 9 outer envelope complete!

June 6th, 2017

We’ve completed the outer envelope of the Ascender 9 airship. We’re hoping to do a first inflation test Wednesday night if the weather and parking lot allow.

Zippers Everywhere

May 24th, 2017

Today the crew is sewing the last of the zippers in Ascender 9. There are a lot of zippers in this thing. One nine foot nose zipper for inflation, six foot zippers on each tail, ten, two and a half foot along each keel and two  six foot emergency egress zippers on each side.

TransAtmospheric Ascender

May 23rd, 2017

The TransAtmospheric Ascender will be our first airship to reach space. The vehicle is 2100 feet long and will have a crew of three. It will have a peak altitude of 350,000 feet and a maximum velocity of Mach 5.  Technically it is a hypersonic waverider. The TransAtmospheric Ascender is strictly a suborbital vehicle. It will fly from a Block 2 Dark Sky Station floating at 120,000 feet to space then return to the station. The airship will be driven by a single four chamber version of our symphony hybrid chemical/electric rocket engine.

The TransAtmospheric Ascender is still a few years away but as we get closer the design starts to firm up. Just thought you would like a look at where it stands.

JPA Article in Science 2.0

May 23rd, 2017

There’s a article about JPA at Science 2.0. It’s a good article.A few minor errors (Dark Sky Station will be at 140,000 feet not 180,000 feet and we never charge for PongSats). However overall it really captures what we’re up to.