Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rodent lab being sent to the ISS


"Are we making the best case that the space station is a critical asset for this nation? Are we maximizing scientific research there to the best extent that we can? In spring we’ll be launching the first rodent laboratory up to the station, and there will be a lot of exciting stuff going on."

I think their project probably costs substantially more than mine though. Speaking of which one of you donated $20. Many thanks, that'll be put into the helium fund. I'll ultimately need nearly $500 for that but every little bit helps. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Failure to launch.

Where I am, we're heading into a long unbroken several months of shitty overcast/rainy weather. Today was an unexpectedly clear, sunny day so rather than wait to add all the bells and whistles to Skyhab, I attempted an early launch.

That's as full as it ever got. I severely underestimated the amount of helium necessary. I will need around 5 tanks to fill it to the point where it will lift skyhab. The tanks are $45 each. I don't have that kind of money to spend on something like this, and there haven't been any donations in over a year. Consequently, project Space Hams is indefinitely postponed and most likely cancelled. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Camera mounted. Solar panels next.

Got the little camera on there. It's on one end of a counter weighted balsa wood truss. This way I can get footage of the habitat at altitude from about two feet away. Another down-facing camera will also be added to give a sense of height.

Next up, solar panels. I'll be using those little solar LED lights you pound into the dirt along a walkway that charge from sunlight during the day then power a little LED at night. A few of these will give skyhab interior lighting at night time. That should make for some neat exterior shots.

More to come.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Launch soon.

Skyhab's basic structure has been complete for some time now. Laptop died, PC died, so no internet access except on phone. Waiting for fall so it won't be too warm in there. I have the lightest video cam I could find, for recording the flight from onboard Skyhab. Will be positioned at the end of a balsawood rod maybe 2 feet away, looking into skyhab from outside. This will afford the best possible view.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bought the fishing line, and mooring info

220 feet of it with a 30lb stress rating. Will be purchasing tiny metal mooring connectors tomorrow that will allow the habitat to rotate in the wind without twisting the line.

Also I came to a pretty obvious realization that unless it's a remarkably still day when I launch this balloon, it will never be directly overhead and the line will always be at an angle. So if I moor it the way I was planning to the entire habitat would be angled, creating an awkward situation for the occupants trying to navigate the interior.

The solution is to have the habitat hanging independently on its own line. Even if the balloon is directly overhead, provided a long enough line the habitat should hang more or less level. And assuming it is always at (at least a slight) angle from the weight holding the line down, this solution is much better and will keep the habitat level regardless of the balloon's movement.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Preparing to buy helium.

Unless someone knows of a better deal than this, I'll probably go ahead and make the purchase. This should be enough that even if I mess up while filling and let a lot of it escape there'll still be plenty remaining for a second or third try.

Monday, February 4, 2013

You're doin' it wrong

Rip Skyfrog ;-;7  He was a hero and a real human bean

What kind of psychopath sends a frog into the troposphere without a climate conditioned life support capsule to meet his basic biological needs?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Manned sky platform?

Researching weather balloon prices led me to an interesting thought experiment. On a budget, could I put together something one person could live in comfortably, suspended from balloons? I had what I thought were modest plans for a spherical wooden/plastic cabin at first that, after weight and cost calculation, turned out to be fanciful and unrealistic. Ultimately after cutting out the fat I got down to using a "Portaledge", basically a hanging tent designed for cliff climbers, as the living space. The whole thing, frame + rainfly, is only 15lbs. Add a sleeping bag, food and water and extra clothes as well as a small thermoelectric wood fired portastove for warmth and to power LED lights, and we'll assume that's 35lbs. Add my own weight, 180lbs, and add another 5lbs to guarantee positive buoyancy. That gives you a payload weight of 220lbs.
Now for the balloons. I don't understand why, but balloons with a diameter of 7' are very reasonably priced at around $12 apiece, whereas any diameter above that and the prices quickly get into the hundreds of dollars per balloon. So, sticking with 7' diameter balloons with a net lifting capacity of 4lbs each, you're looking at 55 balloons, for around $700 after shipping. Total cost after balloons, portaledge, supplies and helium would be about $2,000. Shockingly affordable for a campsite in the sky. Moor it at a low altitude within range of cell towers and you've got internet access on your phone/tablet, which can recharge from the stove, or run continuously from thin film solar mounted to the tent exterior for $200-$300 extra. Pretty cozy, right? Kicking back in your warm sleeping back, little stove hanging from the peak of the tent crackling and keeping the interior toasty, led lights for reading, browsing your favorite websites all of this at a thousand feet in the air.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Balloon purchased.

White, so it won't be too visible. 7 foot diameter as that's still excessive and I want to under-inflate it to insure against it bursting. It still has the lifting capacity that I can expand the base to 2 or 3 times current weight and it will still fly. Watch this space.