15 Days To Zero-G: Boom Deployer Work, Machined Parts Shipping, etc.

It’s actually past midnight, but I figured I’d give a quick update:

  • We made some major progress on the design of the boom deployer. At this point I think we have all the conceptual issues resolved, and it’s mostly just detailed design work from here. Our hope is to have at least some of the boom deployer box pieces ready to be sent out for production by the end of the week.
  • This includes work on the boom deployment drive system. We got the gearmotor in earlier in the week, and came up with a good way to mount it, and do the belt drive in a way that we can easily tension the belt, and provide the right amount of torque to the friction roller. We originally thought this was going to have to stick out the side of the box, which would’ve required some sort of protective cover, but found a way to tuck it inside the box.
  • The other big breakthrough on this end was for the Human-Machine Interface. One of the pieces of feedback we had gotten from people who had done Zero-G flights (thanks Ben!) was that making the boom deployer operable with one hand would allow you to use the other hand to steady yourself. We were having some issues on how to do this, until we realized that we could flip the box upside down from the orientation we had been assuming. This made it so the “drum” the boom rolls up into now makes a good hip-rest, and there’s room along the top to strap the operator’s arm (using velcro straps) onto the new top surface. This is going to end up looking sort of Anime. Or like a really fancy adjustable arm crutch… We’ll also have a harness of sorts to make sure that the demonstrator can’t accidentally be dropped.
  • We should be getting our first machined pieces in for the Rev 2a Gripper tomorrow. Unfortunately it’s not clear if we’ll get the joint lockers before Monday. Getting the gripper mechanism tested and debugged is going to be a key issue for making this work.