Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hang tests

We are currently conducting our hang tests. We want to make sure that the payloads hang evenly when they are aloft. This is perhaps one of the most fun bits of putting the payloads together. Everyone  comes together to help and we take a "field trip" to Fairchild tower (the tallest place indoors on campus where we can hang out payload) and quite literally hang the payloads. 

This test accomplishes a few things. As we stated above this allows us to make sure that the payloads hang evenly, but we also take the weight of the payload as well. Knowing the weight helps us determine how much we need to fill up the balloons with helium. We don't want too much helium as that could either burst the balloon or have us flying at too high of an altitude, and we don't want too little as then we might not get up to the correct altitude or may come down too early. 

This is also one of the last things we do before shipping the payloads off to storage so having the hang test means we're getting closer to the finish line! 

Here you can see the payload sitting on the cart and the parachute up on the second floor

One of the most important jobs, just like when climbing, is the  belaying. We don't want the payload to fall either on us, or just to the ground and break!

At the end of the test we remove the terminate box (the instrument that cuts the rope between the balloon and the payload) and roll up the parachute all ready to pack. 

Since the set up for this test is a bit cumbersome we try to do it for multiple payloads at a time.