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Here are the latest happenings at JPA


We had a great build session this week.  Work on Away 26 continued.  The stabilizer fins were made as well as their frame mounts.  The fins are necessary to keep the platform from rotating during flight.   The Away 26 platform has a new look now that side triangular booms have been attached.  These booms are camera mounts.  They will hold both the digital still camera and one of the live video camera heads.  An awful lot of soldering on controllers, GPS interfaces, regulators and sensors kept us all busy.

Here's Saturdays crew.


Blast from the Past!
Team member Mike Strong came across some pictures he took five years ago of the Advanced Platform test flight.  Flown on January 29, 2000, five years ago to the day, this vehicle was one of the forerunners to the Dark Sky Station.                                                                                                    

The nine balloons all needed the exact amount of Helium.

The vehicle landed in the middle of a shallow frozen lake.  It was five inches of snow covering ice, covering six inches of water covering mud the went all the way to the center of the Earth!


xprizenews.com has started a section on their site to keep their community updated on our progress.  They are keeping good tabs on a lot of groups trying to find better ways to get to space.

We have literally hundreds of hours of video from our over eighty missions.  We've started digitizing it all.  Most of it is pretty boring stuff,  hours and hours of checklist and system prep.  However, it usually leads to an exciting moment or two. We film everything so when something goes wrong we can go back and review what we did.  We are going to make a video page and put up a new video clip every week or so.  On a personal note; looking back at some of the video it's amazing  how old we're all gotten in the past couple of decades.....


Cool Stuff Alert!  
We've added new items to the JPA Rocket Store.  Get your mission on, pull out the credit card and help keep us flying!



Excellent progress was made this week on a number of fronts.  The spread spectrum telemetry system is talking to the our new generation of command controller.  Our newest members was zipped, squeezed and sealed up for pressure suit training and orientation.  Everyone at JPA gets pressure suit orientation as part of our training program.

The mission control van underwent an end to end inspection.  'Old number 14' is still running strong, but, needs a lot of little things done to prepare for the next round of missions.  

Now all we need to do is sell a few more tee shirts for Helium and Away 26 will be off!


PongSats are starting to arrive for the Away 26 mission.  Here's one with the best paint job we've
seen on a PongSat.

Away 26 will look a lot like Away 25.  The major differences are:
             To be flown on two latex balloons instead of three poly balloons.
             Live video downlink with four camera heads.
             New command/control system.
             Spread spectrum telemetry system running in parallel with our standard system.
             Kevlar reinforcements on the stabilizer fins.
             Equipment temperature recording system.
             All system (except the emergency backup beacon) will be power by rechargeable lithium ion batteries.

There will also be the standard high rack equipment:
             Backup balloon release system.
             Command deployed parachute.
             Digital camera.
             GPS tracking system.
             and of course PongSats!

                             The flight will look a lot like this:

                                                      Away 25 launch and on board video, this is a big file, but, it's worth it.



Work continues on Away 26.  All of the components are nearing completion.  The next big step is integrating all the parts into one flight system.  If anyone out there has a PongSat to fly now is the time.  There is space available on Away 26 for about 30 more.

JP Spoke last last weekend at the Society for Amateur Scientist annual conference in Las Vegas.  It was three days of being blown away by amazing work being done by citizen scientists from around the world..  Everyone needs to checkout their website at www.sas.org.

There are new Ascender pictures on the site.  Just click on the the big Ascender picture on the main page to check them out.



Mach Gliders

For the ATO program to succeed we need better information about flight dynamics in the upper atmosphere. Mach Gliders are our tool to both gather the data and a test bed for implementing designs. Mach gliders are miniature Ascenders carried to the upper atmosphere by balloon or rocket.

Mach Glider program outline:      Cylindrical balloon construction and indoor rapid inflation tests.  DONE
                                                    From sabot (carrying sleeve for the cylindrical balloon) ground deployment.   DONE         
                                                    10,000 foot rocket deployment and inflation of cylindrical balloon.
                                                    Mach Glider construction and indoor rapid inflation tests. IN PROGRESS
                                                    From sabot (carrying sleeve for the Mach Glider) ground deployment.
                                                    10,000 foot rocket deployment and inflation of cylindrical balloon.
                                                    100,000 foot Mach Glider drop from Away mission.
                                                    Rocket deployed Mach Glider at 200,000 feet.
                                                    Rocket deployed Mach Glider at 200,000 feet with a rocket booster on the Mach Glider.
                                                    Rocket deployed Mach Glider at 400,000 feet.
                                                    Rocket deployed Mach Glider at 400,000 feet with a rocket booster on the Mach Glider. 

Inflation test video



Away 26 High Rack vehicle is getting closer to flight.   This flight will lift off in February from the Black Rock desert in Nevada.   Away 26 will test some of the new systems needed for our more advanced vehicles.  Today work progressed on the new spread spectrum telemetry system and the internal temperature data gathering system.  The High Rack structure itself is complete as well as the new generation command controller and the live video system.

The Sacramento L5 Society had its monthly meeting here today.  It was great to see the gang.




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This page was last edited on January 30, 2005
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