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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Suborbital Corporation News: The team behind the Russian Cosmopolis sub-orbital vehicle has made a lot of progress
chabot imageThe team behind the Russian Cosmopolis sub-orbital vehicle has made a lot of progress," according to a January 2004 interview with Eric Anderson, an executive for Space Adventures, a company investing in the project. Also in January, Space Adventures and Cosmopolis began their search for a suitable spaceport site in Australia, where the sub-orbital, reusable spacecraft will be based.
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Armadillo Aerospace News: Vehicle work
chabot imageAnalyzing the data from last week’s vehicle warm up test showed that while all engines came up to pressure when a big burst was made, with the throttle just cracked open, two of the engines weren’t making any pressure. I added code to let us individually calibrate the “cracking fraction” of each valve, so we can now expect all of them to open within 1% throttle of each other. Still, micro throttle cracking isn’t very even, because 1% in the opening fraction of a 1” ball valve is a lot of flow. If we want to use a tiny idle flow, we may need to add extra valves specifically for that.
PVC cementing the drum adapter directly to the 1” PVC feed hose worked better than trying to RTV it, but by the end of the day’s testing it was leaking a bit again. I need to find a 2” buttress thread fitting in PVC that I can cement both the hose and a support pipe directly to. Read More

Monday, January 26, 2004

ARCA News: Today, members of ARCA and Rotary Club Rm. Valcea-Cozia have meet
chabot imageToday, members of ARCA and Rotary Club Rm. Valcea-Cozia have meet.
On this meeting Club members decided to offer a sponsorship to ARCA’s project and to establish a long term colaboration.
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Sunday, January 25, 2004

Armadillo Aerospace News: Vehicle hot firing
chabot imageAfter a great deal of work this week, we got the entire vehicle together and ran propellant through it.
We got new stainless spreading plates for the engines from http://www.globalstencil.com/ . They have been turning our orders around from CAD drawing to (local) delivery in under a week, which is really nice for our schedule. The new plates have 848 holes of 0.022” diameter, which is over four times as many holes, but with a smaller diameter. We tested the spreading by flowing propane / air through a chamber blocked by the spreading plate and seeing how many 20 mesh screens we needed to add to get a uniformly even flame without hot jets in the spreading plate hole pattern. I was a little surprised to see that it still took seven screens, down only three from our 204 hole spreading plates. Read More

Friday, January 23, 2004

ARCA News: ARCA and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Valcea organized a meeting with businessmen from Ramnicu Valcea
chabot imageARCA and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Valcea organized a meeting with businessmen from Ramnicu Valcea to support ARCA’s X Prize Project.
Representatives from many companies attended the presentation and showed their intention to support our project.
Next week, ARCA planned several presentations in other locations.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

chabot imageThe X PRIZE Foundation announced today they have selected Florida and New Mexico as finalists in the bid to host the first annual X PRIZE Cup. This two-week long event will take place at the same time and same location each year and will allow all X PRIZE-Class vehicles to compete for cash prizes in a series races resulting in a single winner. Early last year, the X PRIZE Foundation released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to all Spaceports in order to select a strategic partner and hosting venue for the X PRIZE Cup. From these proposals, four possible venues were considered: California, Florida, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. "We were excited to receive four excellent proposals from and while it was a difficult decision the winners received unanimous endorsements from the selection committee." said X PRIZE Chairman Dr. Peter H. Diamandis.

Dr. Diamandis continued "I'm thrilled to have Florida and New Mexico as finalists in the X Prize Cup Competition. Both have a strong tradition of being pioneers in the space industry and recognize the value of the public space flight market. We look forward to a strong competition between the states leading to a successful X PRIZE Cup." Read More

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Armadillo Aerospace News: Big thrust gains
chabot imageOur big order of modular 5.5” chambers arrived from DynaTurn. We now have lots of sections that we can bolt together with copper flange gaskets to produce any length 5.5” ID chamber, and swap the sections out to test different things. I milled an aluminum top plate with an O-ring seal for closing the test engines off, since that part of the engine won’t get hot enough to cook the O-ring.We closed up the bolt holes on some of the 2” thick sections and welded this to a 7” ID rolled tube to produce a “stepped” engine. We would have preferred to make a uniformly 7” ID chamber, but the foil monoliths are long lead time items, so we are making do with what we have on hand. The hot section has two layers with 500 grams of rings each. We also used an 0.040” hole spreading plate, reduced the cold pack to a single 1” thick 900 cpsi monolith, and added a little more top plenum space above the spreading plate to allow the flow to spread out easier, so it should be a superior engine in many ways to the previous ones. Read More

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Armadillo Aerospace News: 2500 lbf, Pressure ratios
chabot imageWe cut apart the most recent welded ring catalyst engine and added a third layer of 200 grams of rings and replaced the 2.2” nozzle with a 1.7” nozzle, giving the same 3:1 catalyst to throat ratio as the big motor. The big motor should be about 5.5x the thrust of the small motor, going from a 1.7” throat to a 4” throat.
The motor configuration is: 204 x 0.040” hole spreading plate, ten 20 mesh screens, 2 x 1” thick 600 cpsi monoliths, 3/16” support bar, 1/8” perforated flameholder, glow plug volume, 1/8” perforated plate as a top ring holder, 3 x 200 grams of rings supported by ¼” thick perforated plate with a 10 mesh 316 screen to keep the rings from pressing into the holes.
We made a very long burn to see if maximum heating would cause the rings to collapse. It ran 65 seconds at 400 lbf thrust with no problems at all, although parts of the chamber were glowing yellow hot. We did two more runs for calibration at different pressures:
775 lbf at 425 psi tank, 300 psi mid, 248 psi chamber
410 lbf at 232 psi tank, 184 psi mid, 149 psi chamber
There is no sign of warping on the thicker perforated plates. Read More

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

ARCA News: Today ARCA started discussions with authorities for the first rocket vehicle launch which will take place soon.
chabot imageToday ARCA started discussions with authorities for the first rocket vehicle launch which will take place soon.
After preliminary discussions, we have a potential launch site and resonable launch conditions.
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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

ARCA News: The weather is “impossible”.
chabot imageARCA Team Leader, Dumitru Popescu: The weather is “impossible”.
Temperatures are very low, it is snowing and our access to the test site is blocked.
In fact the whole test site is a frozen marsh.
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Saturday, January 03, 2004

Armadillo Aerospace News: Engine work
chabot imageWe built a couple more test engines this week. We reconfigured the data acquisition to read pressure between the cold pack and the hot pack, and final chamber pressure on all runs.
We built a welded engine with 600 grams of ring catalyst in the hot section in a single layer, and a slightly drilled out spreading plate.
This started out with great thrust – over 700 lbf, but it tailed off after a couple seconds. This turned out to be due to many of the rings on the bottom squashing flat under the heat and pressure.
Initial: 730 lbf from 293 psi feed, 187 psi mid, 154 psi chamber
Final: 575 lbf from 278 psi feed, 198 psi mid, 120 psi chamber Read More

Thursday, January 01, 2004

chabot imageStarchaser has taken delivery of it’s first Russian Space Suit

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