Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

picture, press release, data, story!

launch picture from Merrick Peirce:

The NASA press release is  here

some data, plotted by Max Roberts:

first the IMU (inertial measurement unit) showing the acceleration, magnetic field, and gyration seen by Bob27 as it is deployed out of the main payload:

The top panel shows the acceleration:  at first you see the centrifugal acceleration felt by the end of the Bob as it spins in the main payload deploy tube.  Then the main payload is spun down to zero, so the acceleration goes away.  Then you see the small kick when the doors come off, at T+121sec, and then the larger kick as the Bob is kicked out the tube.  Finally you see the centrifugal acceleration felt by the sensor as the Bob spins about its long axis.
   The second panel shows all these motions as sensed by the magnetometer.  Inside the deploy tube there are large magnetic offsets so the picture is distorted, but again you see the quiet period when the main payload is waiting to deploy the bobs.  Then once the Bob is kicked out and spun up by its rifling pins, you see the rapid spinning motion (about 1.5 Hz) of the Bob along its long axis.
   Finally the gyroscope sensor shows the rotation rate at each phase.

then here are two of the PIP ion sensors, this time on Bob30:

The two pips look in different directions; the upper panel sees large fluxes on the down leg, and the lower panel sees the entry into the arc near the beginning of the flight.

Finally, a story.  

Using the "xkcd ten hundred word" vocabulary (see here) (and here), the story of the Isinglass rocket (the "fast car") and its Bobs (the little space boats) studying the ionospheric plasma (the space air) and the north space lights....With thanks to Liz MacDonald, Max Roberts, Rob Clayton, and xkcd....     story

Thursday, March 2, 2017


both us and the pfaff mission.
3 launches, 10 payloads, 2 hours.
all beautiful.
all the bobs worked, as well as everything else.
nominal trajectory, well placed over venetie.
all happy!!!!!!!
photo from terry zaperach below, many more to come!!!!  :) :) :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

promising night

A promising night, and we have checked off the box for what we call "out for winds".....in order to launch, we need (a) a healthy rocket, (b) good aurora, and (c) good weather.  For much of the window we have been battling weather in the form of clouds, snow, and rain, but the more common problem with auroral rockets is being out for winds....this means that the atmospheric winds are such that the trajectory does not stay within allowed bounds.  For us tonight it meant that the booster motor would have fallen outside the range boundaries.  The way we know this is that the range lofts balloons throughout the night and tracks them to measure the winds.
    The good thing about being out for winds, as opposed to clouds, is that you can see the aurora!!  We had some spectacular aurora tonight, and Don Hampton and his student Jason Ahrns collected some great photos.  The digital all sky that Don has fielded at Venetie captured what we call the PacMan aurora:

and Jason captured what I think must be truly the photo of the campaign, from over the Venetie cabin:

Finally there has been a sighting of peeps, a symbol of some repute among those of us waiting for rockets:

so it seems that we have got all of our ducks in a line now and it's time to launch this thing.  More luck tomorrow!  Supposed to have clear skies and good aurora;  also the temperatures are dropping so that should help with the winds.  Onward!