Just saw this in my news feed. The Jacksonville Spaceport has its first customer and they have had their first test flight. Check out the news here – http://members.jacksonville.com/news/metro/2014-07-30/story/spaceport-test-flight-giant-leap-launch-facility-jacksonville
The reason this is interesting to us at Mach 30, is Jacksonville, and its spaceport, is one of the more promising locations for future Mach 30 operations (and possibly headquarters once we are really ready to discuss headquarters locations).
Dave, the creator of CadQuery (CQ), has been keeping an eye on our discussion about using CQ for a CodeCAD based Ground Sphere model. He’s offered to help build the model once we clearly define the rules governing the dimensions (which I’m working on). Dave is looking for ways to prove out CQ, both by helping us, and by doing his own designs. One thing he’d like to do is come up with a CQ based model that’s useful enough that people would want to pay for it on the Shapeways store. Here is what Dave said in an email. He would like to:
“launch a customizable product in the shapeways store that uses CQ technology underneath. I need to establish an example of using CQ tech to do something useful. Still trying to figure out what a good product would be that consumers would pay to customize and print”
So, I wanted to put this out to our community to see if anyone has any ideas. I think this is a good example of a way we can contribute to an open source project without writing a line of code. Also, increasing the visibility and user base of CQ will only help Mach 30 if we go with CQ long term. Dave will be watching this conversation and I’m sure he’ll be happy to clarify anything that I missed.
Thanks to Juli for pointing us toward this opportunity – http://www.unawe.org/updates/unawe-update-1429/
TL;DR – astronomy clubs and non-profits are invited to submit names for exoplanets so we can use a real name instead of having to use their catalog numbers.
So, let’s discuss possible names to submit!
Now that we have a shiny new P2 install to communicate with, it is time to start working on the ground rules that go with it so we can really implement it (per discussion at Apogee – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wjkr_bs80_kFixK-j46RxDFNGQYL0ifgvkRIMJn_8vE/edit).
I started a document to capture the ground rules, but I figure we can discuss them in this thread before we start writing them down.
I’ve noticed a cool (and slightly concerning) trend in the maker community lately: DIY computerized model rocket launch controllers. Here are two examples:
- Phone Launch Controller – http://makezine.com/2014/07/17/smartphone-rocket-launcher/
- Arduino Launch Controller – http://arduinohandbook.wordpress.com/projects-16-30/28-rocket-launcher/
The cool part about this trend is the sudden interest and popularity of model rocketry (and hopefully by extension spaceflight) in the maker community (just listen to the excitement in the Phone Launch Controller maker’s video to see what I mean). I would love to be able to capitalize on this momentum (time and plan permitting).
The somewhat concerning aspect of this trend is the lack of adequate (or sometimes any) safety features. The primary safety feature I am referring to is the safety pin in a commercial launch controller like you would find in a controller from Estes. The safety pin is an integral part of the launch controller circuit, without the pin engaged, the controller cannot ignite the rocket motor.
From the video, it appears the Phone Launch Controller lacks anything like the safety pin (though I may have missed something and I would be happy to be wrong about this). And the Arduino Launch Controller does require two buttons to be pressed to confirm the launch command, but it does not appear to have any physical safety apparatus to prevent a software bug from triggering a launch.
I still have a few things I need to clear off my plate, but I might use some of my own time to look into what it would take to modify the Arduino Launch Controller to include a physical safety interlock (maybe a key switch in place of the safety pin). Thoughts? Anyone have an appropriate schematic for the launch controller circuitry including the safety pin?
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