Away 129

October 4th, 2019

We’re gearing up for the flight of Away 129 this weekend. This one is loaded. Two full dissimilar telemetry systems, satellite uplink, airship valve tests, MHD plasma experiments, PongSats and 3d printed structural parts flown for the first time and more. Weather is looking good and most of the gear is already delivered to the launch site.

Wish us luck!

Launch Site Upgrades

June 7th, 2019

We’ve put together a new launch apron at our Area 42 research site in Nevada.

Added a second shipping container, a twelve foot high fence and 60 yards of gravel. This gives us a 50 foot by 40 foot wind protected launch area. It will work great for balloon missions as well as the smaller airship test flights. The new container will be workshop space and mission control.

This was the idea:

Area cleared and the gravel dumped:

Drones eye view of the work in progress:

The fence is on the upwind side for morning launches.

Instant building!

The new balloon dance floor:

In the coming weeks we’ll be adding solar and outfitting the new space.

Life Support System Test

May 31st, 2019

We’re gearing up for the next life support test on Belle. These are with the sub in the shop & me inside. The last one we ran “full closed” for 3 hrs while we running full system shake out & taking atmo & medical data every 5 mins. This time it’s 5 hrs.

Pic from the last 3 hour test.

Backup O2 Tank Mounting Rails

May 31st, 2019

We got the new bracket for the submarine’s backup O2 tank finished. The bracket allows tank sleeve to be removed without needing to crawl into the nose. We learned our lesson on that from the main O2 tank.

The backup O2 tank in it’s sleeve and mounting bracket. Today we’re mounting it on the hull ceiling in the nose. We spent a week with a foam mock up getting the placement right.

Airship to Orbit

May 30th, 2019

Artist concept of Airship to Orbit in action. Below is small airship bringing people and payload to the Dark Sky Station at 140,000 feet.

On the right is an Orbital Ascender leaving the station and heading to orbit.


May 26th, 2019

Pic from the archive.

An early JPA rockoon flight (balloon launched rocket) from 1995.

New Air Beams for the Ascender 26B Airship

May 24th, 2019

Sometimes the fabric is too big for the tables. Jan and Paul spent last Saturday on their hands and knees cutting fabric for the air beams on Ascender 26B.

These will be the 21 foot long beams for the leading & trailed edges.