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Here are the latest happenings at JPA              


Here's a sketch of some of the vehicles in the JPA family and their operational altitudes.
We've added it to the art page.


The big guy in the hanger...




Blast from the Past.

Here is an early Dark Sky Station prototype.  This pic was taken in the winter of 2000. 
The DSS is just over 20 feet across.


One of the key components of the Away 28 roller system is the drum brake. This has proved to be a bigger
challenge then expected, however, this weekend we think we got it figured out. 

Propeller building never ends....


This propeller is designed for operation at 100,000 feet.  It was tested in flight on the Away 22 mission.


The shop is getting packed.  Three flight systems, Away 27, Away 28 and the new airship all being
assemble at once.  In one corner carbon poles are stacked like firewood.  Space pioneers and pioneers
of the American west are not so different after all...

Ed and Paul assemble the Away 27 carbon frame while Mike works on the Away 28 roller system
in the background.

Advanced pipe cleaner development tool.


Propeller day

Today was spent making airship propellers.  The propellers are hollow, two meter diameter, carbon, kevlar,
and fiberglass creations.  Most of the time is spent cutting out all the fabric layers.  All the fabric parts
were then laid up in two molds with epoxy.  The molds then go into vacuum bags and get pumped down.
The goal for today was to get four blade halves (one prop) made.  Only one more to go and I get to go home...


Away 28 Progress

Last Saturday we conducted a float test of Away 28.  We've been experimenting with difference techniques for
getting the balloon on the roller in a way that deploys well.   In Saturdays test the balloon came off the roller very
smoothly and controlled.  After several unrolling tests we let the vehicle fly a little to see how it handled. 

Next for Away 28 is the replacement of the development 'boiler plate' components for the flight weight
components, (we swap the PVC parts for carbon fiber ones).  Then we install a motor and control system
for the drum.

The ability to manage the balloon envelopes in flight is critical not only for our Dark Sky Station high altitude facility,
but, it is vital to Mars and Venus balloons missions envisioned by NASA.  Even balloons for use in far away places like
Titan need in-flight  handling techniques.   The Away 28 mission is a very simple in flight deployment,
but it's a start.

                   Balloon prep.                                                                     Ready to roll.

 The balloon is attached to the drum shaft.                      Rolling, rolling, rolling.....                                        Helium Fill.

                   The total vehicle and balloon weight was 20.5 pound.                                           Ready for lift off.

                  The vehicle was very stable.                           After reaching above the building Away 28 reached
                                                                                     the end of the tether and was pulled down to do it again.


A big Happy Birthday goes out to Paramedic, firefighter, trumpet player, big brother and all around great guy Carl Powell.

This is a drawing of the Transatmospheric Ascender, (TA).  The TA is an intermediate vehicle in ATO development.
This vehicle will fly from the Block II Dark Sky Station to 60 miles up.  In the big scheme of things it comes after the Mach Gliders and before the small orbital airship.


Balloon Rolling!

The Away 28 mission is designed to unroll a balloon in flight.   Last week we completed the basic structure.  This
Saturday we began experimenting with putting a balloon onto the roller.   It was apparent very quickly that side guides
for the balloon are needed even in testing.  It also appears that balloon will need to be folded prior to rolling.  



With over 100 degree heat in Sacramento the team tries to do as much of the work as possible in the office instead
of the hot workshop. 


Big Science in small packages.

Here's another great PongSat project.  This team is from Sint-Pieterscollege in Belgium:

They have some excellent pics of the insides of their PongSat.

The Space Show

A great big enthusiastic plug goes out to  Dr. David Livingston and The Space Show.  The Space Show is the best
radio on the air for anyone interested in what's really happening in the space arena.   On occasion they have very
cool prizes for callers.  I've won twice now, so who's up to giving me some competition for the next one?

July what's new page.

May-June what's new page.

March-April what's new page.

Februarys what's new page.

Januarys what's new page.

  Back to the JPA home page.

This page was last edited on September 28, 2005
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