Sorry for the long delay in posting. Space Access ’06 went very well, though the trip back home didn’t go quite so well. This year I took little Jon and Tiff along with me, and the three of us drove down from the Bay Area. The trip down was uneventful, and actually not too bad at all. On our return trip on Sunday however, right as we were about to cross the Arizona/California border, Little Jonny started barfing. And kept barfing. We stopped near the border in Blythe, CA for 2 hours, where he proceeded to barf about every 5-10 minutes. We were really worried, but found a way to keep him hydrated, until we could get him to our Aunt and Uncle’s place there in LA. He was feeling a bit better the next day, so we swung through Mojave on the way back up to the Bay Area. Visited XCOR’s shop. Got to see their X-Racer prototype they were putting together, as well as some other things they were working on. I really liked the simple low-cost way they were mocking up the propulsion section for the vehicle, we’ll have to borrow some of that for our XL vehicles. After Mojave, we drove into Tehachapi, and proceeded to get lost on some back road that finally passed the Tehachapi Loop (a spiral section of train track which appears to be the town’s claim to fame), and then found our way back to the freeway. We didn’t end up pulling in at our apartment till about 11:45pm Monday night.
Since we got back, things have been really busy at the office, as well as at home. We got our Chamber-Saddle engine brazed up and ready for firing, as well as ordering most of the components for our first vernier module. I’ve been working on the CAD model for that thing for some time now. It looks like an octopus with how many wires, hoses, and hardlines it has snaking everywhere, but it’s a start. I guess there is only so much you can do to make a gimballed, throttleable, regen-cooled, restartable, bipropellant rocket engine simple while still keeping it sufficiently reliable. Yesterday, we tested the dual-igniter system that we’re planning on using for our vehicle vernier modules, and it is really roudy. We were mostly trying to do that to give a bit of operational redundancy, but wow! We were getting 2-3 inch long flames coming our of the engine nozzle. If that doesn’t light the propellants, you must have accidentally loaded water instead of IPA.
On the home front, things have also been a bit hectic. The day after we got back, Tiff was feeling a bit naseous in the morning, so we were really worried that maybe we had gotten ourselves food poisoned or something (I had been feeling slightly out-of-sorts on Sunday and Monday myself), or possibly some sort of bug. We heard from several other conference attendees that they had also had food poisoning like symptoms. Jonny was feeling much better, but though. When Tiff was feeling queasy again on Wednesday it really started me worrying. Thursday morning when I woke up she was still feeling sick. I joked that “you sure seem to be sick a lot in the morning. Maybe you’re morning sick. Ha, ha.” Then I promptly went back to sleep. Ten minutes later Tiff woke me up and said that if we end up moving down to Tehachapi this summer, that we might want to look for a three-bedroom place instead of a two-bedroom. 🙂
Anyhow, as you can see, life has been rather hectic as of late, but I plan on blogging a bit about one or two of the interesting things I saw at Space Access, if time ever permits again.