Meeting 1 - Initial Questions: Jun 15, 2012


Mach 30: J., Jeremy
Adler: Ken


Start: 1000 CDT
End: 1130 CDT


  • Introductions
  • Orientation
  • Initial Questions


  • Introductions
    • went around the room and did introductions
  • Orientation
    • Ground Rules
    • Over all process
      • Initial Questions
      • Requirements (to be done by Mach 30 tonight)
      • Block Diagram
      • Detailed design
      • Design Review
  • Initial Questions
    • Q1. Why are we making this?
      • Ken - Big picture goal was to build up to developing CubeSats. Seemed like a reasonable first step. Adler received help from the guy who literally wrote the book on High Altitude Balloons. Has the added benefit of providing educational opportunities to practice near space missions with students and enthusiasts. Adler also wants to inspire the community to "take back space exploration" - use amateur efforts to move space exploration forward.
      • Jeremy - ditto
      • J - ditto
    • Q2. Who is this for?
      • Ken - Schools (and School Clubs), students, (getting more people involved is better), Boy Scouts, and now Makers and Maker Spaces. The first step is to provide payload opportunities, but the goal is to get groups the experience to be able to fly their own missions.
      • J - wants to echo support for including Makers and Maker Spaces in the list of who this is for.
      • Ken - Plugging into schools is a natural fit for Adler because they have a large education department and the ties to the educational community that come with that. Ken is very excited to have the opportunity to share Far Horizons with the Maker community.
    • Q3. How will this be used?
      • J - so this question is really, what do you do with it once you have one of these balloons?
      • Ken - The Near Space Environment is like dipping your toes in the space environment (very low pressure, higher radiation exposure, low temperatures). This creates engineering challenges for designing and operating payloads.
      • J - The HAB provides a platform to carry scientific and engineering payloads to a Near Space Environment for a duration on the order of a couple of hours.
      • Ken - Payloads are limited to 6 lbs (and the system is limited to 12 lbs) for flights without FAA notice requirements.
    • Q4. What features does it need to have (now)?
      • Ken - Has to operate safely in flight; operations have to be flexible (ability to adjust payloads to meet weight requirements, adjust to flight conditions - aka winds, or setting up the launch); needs to be trackable, needs to provide for a soft landing, has to be able to carry the payloads (max system weight of 12 lbs, individual payloads no more than 6 lbs) to approximately 90kft-100kft
    • Q5. What features does it need to have (later)?
      • Ken - wish list
        • Controlled descent system (guided landings using parafoil kite to either hit or avoid landing sites)
        • Live two-way telemetry (or command & control) and get live experiment and operations data
        • Stabilized platform system (Adler is making progress on this one)
        • Alternative balloon configurations (zero-pressure, super-pressure balloons)
        • Alternate lift gasses (Adler uses helium right now)
    • Q6. What are the legacy requirements?
      • Ken - must comply with appropriate FAA regulations
    • Q7. Who's going to build this?
      • Ken - Small team (2-3 people minimum) of volunteers
      • J - from Shepard work, the designs will be open so that ANYONE could put together a team to build and operate a Far Horizons Project HAB.
      • Ken - very low skill requirements, but there are some scaling issues depending on some of the engineering choices; more advanced uses require HAM Radio license for tracking, electronics experience, and some background in physics
    • Q8. How many do we want to make?
      • J - we want teams to be able to build one or more systems (the reusable components of the HAB) for their own use
    • Q9. What is the budget?
      • J - Mach 30 is looking to get a version of the design that is as close to $200 entry as possible, but recognize this may be a bit low
      • Ken - If we go to $300, that could be doable
    • Q10. What is the timeline?
      • J - the work with Mach 30 and Quelab to get a first copy of the Far Horizons Project HAB built and flown is approximately 4 weeks (Per Greg, want to launch by week of July 7-14, 2012)
    • Q11. What waste products will be produced by the manufacture and/or operation of this?
      • Ken - each flight will drop a spent latex balloon on the ground somewhere, and continued operations go through lithium batteries. Primary build material is foam board, so will have some waste foam.

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