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Latest happenings at JP Aerospace

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:50 pm
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Latest JP Aerospace News, you can also visit their official forum here.


Sewing, sewing and more sewing… The Wind Mitigation Tier One project requires a lot of sewing. Ahhh, the glamour
of space. It’s taken a little longer to assemble then I thought. However, the end is near! One more evening behind the
machine and the test prototype will be done.

Saturday I gave a PongSat presentation for a teachers aerospace workshop at the McClellan Air Museum. It was a lot
of fun and the teachers were very excited about the program. Five classes with 130 PongSats signed up and will
be flying on Away 27 along with the over 500 already signed up. We may need a dedicated PongSat mission. Could
you image a single flight with over 1000 individual experiment, (1000 principle investigators, 1000 mission reports,
1000 schedule all coming together at once).

We’ve pull the port prop off the airship. Both the propeller and the hub need a bit of work.


Saturday we conducted a Propeller/Structure test on the new airship. We powered up each of the motors separately
and checked power draw and the stability of the mount. We can only run the props at low RPM, (just over 300). They
are designed to run in near vacuum and a full speed run at sea level would damage the motor or the prop or both.

It was looking good so we grabbed on to the vehicle and ran both motors together at one quarter power. It surprised
us with the amount of pull. It all held together, another step checked off the list. The props were rough balanced for
the test. Next on the to-do list is the fine prop balancing.

Wind is the great white shark of balloon folks. Inflating balloons in the desert is like chumming for sharks in the ocean.
It just seems to attract the wind. We have a two stage project to attempt to deal with wind, Wind Mitigation Tier One and
Tier Two projects. Tier One is for the small stuff, (up to 50 pound launches). Tier Two is for the big stuff. Tier One is a new
launch system that will allow us to work in up to 20 knot winds. We will be trying out this system on the Away 27 mission.
We’ll be testing a preliminary version of the system in a park in the next few day.

On a more down to Earth note our next door neighbor in our building was robbed last weekend. The bad guys not
only got in, but knew how to disable the alarm system. It’s makes me a little nervous, we’re here till all hours of the
night and we use, (used) the same alarm system. Space stuff has come to a screeching halt for the day while security
is beefed up.

The tee-shirt contest was fun. It was good hearing from all of you. So here’s another. I have a JPA bumper sticker for the first
person who can name the episode of Lost in Space that featured a manned rockoon, (balloon launched rocket).
Send your e-mails to : jpowell@jpaerospace.com.


Major stuff first! A JPA tee shirt is winging its way to Peter in New Zealand. He was the first person who knew
it was Billy Mumy who both played “I can fix anything” Will Robinson in Lost in Space and later sang Fish Heads
in the group Barnes and Barnes.

Kaymont Consolidated has come on board in support of PongSats with a donation of balloons for Away 27.
Over 500 students will be flying with us on this mission. A big thank you to Paul and all the folks at Kaymont!

The Dark Sky Station house band, Space Vacuum filmed a rock video at the JPA shop. It was a day of music,
airships, aliens and a gorillas with a vacuum. In space no one can hear you clean…..

Rocking out inside the baby Ascender.


Video happens in the strangest places….

Paul and Jill putting baby to bed.

Starbucks will never be the same.


It’s the third day since the Space Frontier Foundation Conference and I still don’t have my voice back.
Just natures way of telling me I talk too much.

It’s still amazing to me just how many disciplines are required in a space program. Today for example
I spent the first part of the day marketing, (very hard without your voice), followed by working on the code for a
high altitude simulation, then molding a custom carbon part for the new airship, then ending the day by cutting
4 twenty by six foot nylon panels for the Away 27 mission, (not the parachute, an experiment). At least the easy
stuff was left to the end of the day, cutting nylon while listening to Space Vacuum and Barnes & Barnes.

Just had a thought. The first person who e-mails me the name of the actor who played the greatest sci-fi fix-it guy of
all time and was also a member of Barnes & Barnes gets a free JPA Tee Shirt.


Away 27

Away 27 is starting to look like a high altitude probe. The small upper deck, which also serves as the fin mount,
was installed Saturday along with boom camera decks. The primary and backup GPS telemetry systems were tested.
We made new housing for them both. You need to look good if you’re going to hang out at the edge of space.

Away 28

The mechanics of the drum braking system are complete. Now we’re building the interface to the flight computer.
The brake looks suspiciously like a bicycle brake… I wonder if bicycle parts have seen the curve of the Earth before?


Propeller crafting seems to take a nearly infinite amount of time. We’re on the home stretch. The top finish layer
and drilling the mounting holes is all that’s left. We’ve also created molds for new carbon hubs to join the props to the motors.
The hubs highlight a odd aspect of JPA tech. High precision cutting edge tech sitting along side duct tape and home depot

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