Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jurassic Park with DJ Khaled

Now that classes are out for the summer we have the luxury of working on HASP almost full time in the GEL lab. We’ve been able to spread all of our materials out on every surface, set up work stations, bring in power tools and focus on building and testing the payload.


Seriously, we are having the best time. We clock in every morning, set up the tasks for the day on the white board, make some coffee and then get to work. We have made a ton of progress in a very short period of time. Some of the younger folks on the team have gone home for the summer (but are still working remotely) and some people can only pop in as their other schedules allow. The leads have been coming in unfailingly almost every day and have set up a rhythm in the way they work. These few weeks have really cemented my love of this work and my appreciation of this team.

We had a glorious conference call with SPEC Sensors where you could feel the creative energy crackling over the speakerphone (unless it was just a bad connection). We’ve been really happy that they’ve agreed to work with us and have even made some tentative plans to do more research for them. HASP 2? Maybe?

After Spencer made the plates we set up a testing rig for the pump and the BABI and ran some endurance tests to see if the rig would survive running for hours. We’ve been very impressed with our SparkFun Pump and have been putting it through the paces in vac and out. It had no issues during our endurance tests (although we all grew tired of hearing it successfully chugging along). Since that went so well we decided to move on to some ground based ambient thermal testing. I made a janky little test rig one day (so much fun) out of scrap aluminum that we dubbed “SHEEP” and we lined it with mylar, threw bunch of sensors into it, and ran it for a few hours. It got pretty hot! We’re going to do more of that with the real GOAT to try and see what other issues we can find.

While tests are running Memes is wiring up the spine, Ryan is getting EVEN MORE donations, I’m trying to get our travel forms square, Jimmy is soldering the wires on BABI, and Handsome is drilling. We’ve all gotten used to wearing ear protection…and some of us even employ it as a tool to add focus when things are too raucous and words need to be written.

When tests go well we learn something.
When tests go poorly we learn something.

Thursday night as we were closing up shop we gathered in the lab next door so we could talk without yelling over the pump and outlined what we needed to do to be prepared for mini-integration and thus, integration. It is a long list but we’re feeling pretty good about our ability to realistically get all of this done.

Jimmy was the first to leave and headed out for his internship last Thursday. Ryan’s last day is this Friday. Memes will stick around until next Friday.

We tested the pump in the -80 degrees C freezer on Monday because the rest of the supplies were tied up. GOAT and SHEEP were disemboweled so we improvised with my vintage tin Dark Crystal lunch box, lined with mylar.  We were skeptical about the pump’s ability to survive the cold trip up and down. Well. The thing worked like a champ. It was still running when we took it out and unplugged it hours later. This means that we primarily need to focus on managing excess heat and will spend less time fiddling around with tiny heaters.

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