8 More Days To Zero-G: Boom Deployer Parts Sourcing and Test Logistics Planning

Quick update for today, since I don’t have any eyecandy to show:

Boom Deployer
We sourced most of the rest of the boom deployer structural/drive components, so that we should have parts in tomorrow to assemble. Sheet metal will be coming in from San Jose, Plastic parts being fabbed here in Louisville, and some drive components coming in from Wayne in Mojave. We got the 6-cell (22.2V) LiPo battery in, the rotary position feedback sensors, and the Casio Exilim ZR100 high-speed camera in today. Right now there is only one machined piece we don’t have sourced yet for tomorrow, and we barely missed the McMaster cutoff for some of the drive hardware (fasteners, belts and pulleys, bearing blocks, etc). A friend who has done a lot of aerospace work in the area gave us some leads on local machinists that can do short leadtime work, so we’ll probably see if there’s someone that can turn around that one piece we need tomorrow. We’ll also hit up some of the hardware stores around here like Fastenal and McGuckins to see if we can get the pieces we need to start putting the boom deployer together. We don’t have everything in place yet, but I really want to have the boom deploying from the deployer tomorrow evening or Saturday at the latest.

Gripper Work
We had a mini design review for the flight gripper today and caught some issues we wanted to fix before sending the parts out for fab. AJ worked on that this evening, and we should be doing a design review in the morning, and getting Wayne started on those pieces tomorrow.

Office Logistics
I also ended up spending a decent chunk of time on office logistics this morning–getting the office organized enough that we could function well, getting bookkeeping caught up and bills paid, etc. Boring crap, but boring crap that makes the important stuff possible.

Test Planning
We also did a lot of test planning on what we need to be doing to practice for this Zero-G flight and maximize our odds of making this flight work successfully. We decided to do a backup that will cross-train with us in case one of us gets sick or can’t make the flight for some reason.

Anyhow, laid a lot of groundwork, and actually got a ton of things done today, but tomorrow and Saturday are going to be the big integration days. Oh, and Forrest is getting in tonight, and will be in in the morning. And we have a great camera so hopefully we’ll have a lot more pictures and videos tomorrow…and I’ll try not to be blogging around midnight…

3 Responses
  1. Bennett Dawson

    Exciting stuff, Jon! The specs on the camera are impressive. Will you be shooting in slow motion video or high speed still frames? Perhaps switching from one mode to the other for alternate parabolas? Amazing what $300 will get you these days. Moores Law for digital cameras…

    I like the idea of an alternate “just in case”. Having that base covered insures that the two main players will be up to the task. I look forward to watching this flight play out.

    Best of luck!

  2. Richard Carpenter

    I can’t stress enough that you are proficient at every phase of your experiment. Your team will be disoriented and virtually no work will be completed between parabolas except when we break to for course reversals. You will not be able do do any fine work under 1.8g acceleration. You will be uncoordinated due to the weight of your arms alone. Try to minimize the motions required and coordinate is all in advance.

    You are going to have your heads down and involved in what you are doing. That will send even more confusing motion cues to your brain. The more movement you make in the early part of the flight, the more likely you will be ill in the latter.

    Richard Carpenter
    Director of Safety and Pilot
    Amerijet/Zero G Program