Headlines > News > Away 26 has flown! Great mission, great recovery!

Away 26 has flown! Great mission, great recovery!

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Mon May 23, 2005 1:08 pm
More share options

More details on Away 26 tomorrow.

News Comments are currently disabled, you can visit the Official JP Aerospace Forum over here:

Other news:


It’s midnight, just hours before we leave for the desert and I’m tinkering. Charging batteries, loading new PongSats, checking the oil in the comms van, there always seems to be hundreds of little things to do just before we roll. Are the fill weights adjusted? How about blank tapes in the van? Is the mission paper work in order? Did we pack the balloons? My personal nightmare is to arrive at the launch site without balloons… I must admit that I love it, how many people get to fuss with spaceships in the middle of the night?


The weather looks great for next Saturdays lift off of Away 26. The winds aloft sounding at the launch site show 113 knot winds at 40,000 feet. It drops down to 5 knots at 100,000 feet. This is perfect for the Away 26 test profile. The temperature is down to -87 degrees F at around 60,000 feet, but, never really warms up. Normally it warms up to a toasty -5 degrees F at 100,000 feet, but, not at the moment. The telemetry systems don’t mind the cold, however, the digital cameras get a bit touchy. A little more insulation will be in order if the conditions hold.


Liquid Helium Ground Fill System

One of the ground support systems we are developing is the ‘Ice Truck’. The ‘Ice Truck’ will be a liquid helium transport and
ground inflation system.

A significant logistical challenge on many missions is the transportation and handling of gaseous Helium tanks. Individual tanks are over 100 pounds each.

The liquid helium ground fill system replaces approximately one hundred and ten helium tanks with one pickup truck mounted system.

The system consists of two large helium dewars mounted in a pickup truck. The bed of the truck is covered by an insulated shell with an air conditioner unit. The dewars are connected to a manifold in the tail of the truck. The manifold connects to a three hundred foot long hose that is laid out on the ground behind the truck. The liquid helium flashed from a liquid to a gas when it leave the dewar. However the gas is still extremely cold. By running the gas through the hose heat from the surrounding environment will radiate into the helium. A series of fans blowing across the hose will regulate the temperature of the Helium. The hose will is connected to a manifold. The lines to the individual balloons and cell from be attached to this manifold. Flow meters are used to provide a measured volume of gas.

This system can support Away missions and larger vehicle such as the 57 foot DSS or the 90 foot Ascender.

Much safer to transport.
Lower transportation costs.
Eliminates physical handling of tanks.
Develops and provides training for future in-flight liquid lifting gas handling.
Excellent sponsor opportunity.

Note: Anyone who can draw a better truck than JP (most of the world, I imagine), can submit their efforts to JPA.
The best one will merit a JPA Tee shirt.


Next week we will have new pictures and video from Away 26. Until then here’s a panorama taken from Away 25 at 98,000 feet.


We head for the desert on May 21st for the flight of Away 26. Winter mission delays tend to try the patience of team and spectators alike. It does, however, make the liftoff that much sweeter.

We been making modifications to the antenna stands for faster assembly in the field and have been tending to all the minor mods and fixes with the ground equipment that one finds during a deployment.


JPA gave a presentation on ATO and PongSats at the Space Access conference in Phoenix Arizona. All the usual suspects were there along with some new faces. The best part of the PongSat presentation is that I can throw Ping Pong balls at any hecklers.

The weather has been a mess. Funnel clouds have been dominating the weather reports today. There’s nothing sadder than the sight of a flight ready vehicle on the ground waiting for lift off, but it’s all part of the game.


The team went to the desert and had blue skies but no joy. Shortly before lift off, after the balloons were inflated surface winds started to pick up. The winds jumped to 15 to 20. Way to high for launch. We held hoping for a calm, but, it never came. Watch this space for the reschedule.

Away 26 in the Black Rock desert.

previous 01:11 pm
No comments
Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!
Leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
© 2018 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use