Sunday, June 12, 2011


Now that the suit is holding the appropriate pressures, I can really move forward on the rest of the system. Today I used a series of crude straps to hold the pressurized suit to a chair, in simulation of how I'll be seated while flying the stratosphere balloon. As usual, this proof-of-concept test looks (and is, in fact) extremely crude, but equally instructive, in ways I can't get into, because I spend so much typing that I'm actually thinking of starting audio blog posts, which will just require me to talk into a digital recorder, and upload the file, rather than type!

In the photos, the suit fastened to the 'flying seat', using both nonelastic and elastic cords, which, in addition to the PRG (mentioned in earlier posts) will give the suit a comfortable, seated posture when pressurized. As I come to these solutions, I find that in many cases I'm arriving at precisely the same solutions that the Russian space program--which was in some important ways different from the American program, which was better-funded and better-informed--came to; employing common materials and an ethos of simplicity and robusticity, they devised uniquely simple but effective solutions in their own pressure suit building projects. What's most thrilling are the 'Eureka' moments, when, sitting at a coffee shop, or just riding the streetcar, my mind identifies a solution, which I rush home to prove with a prototype, followed by refinement and, ultimately, a 'flyable' solution.

As for the next month I'll be out in the field every day, with just a few hours each evening to work on the suit, my method now is 'relentless, incremental progress'; making at least one tiny deign element every day. Element by element, the system grows like a strange, integrated ecosystem!

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