Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recently I was interviewed by Weiden & Kennedy's 'American Dreamers' project about my stratosphere balloon expedition. The interview now appears as a chapter in American Dreamers, alongside essays by Ariana Huffington, Stan Lee, the Mars Society's Robert Zubrin, and many others. These days I'm working late into nights--and sometimes early in the mornings, before work--to prepare a special and exciting test that I hope to make before Christmas! More on that, later. For the moment, pulling a fitting and installing beautiful stainless steel :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Through-Fitting

What a beauty! A brand new, shining stainless steel through-fitting for the pressure suit :) Bye bye to those PVC fittings-- they worked to prove the concept, but stainless steel has no possibility of cracking at low temperatures (e.g. -70F at my target altitude of 50k feet) and I can crank these fittings down to complete airtight status, whereas when I really went at it to tighten down the PVC fittings, they often 'mangled' under the extreme torque forces. Once this fitting is in and tested, I'll get the rest; I will try to reduce the number of fittings to just three, or four at most, rather than the five at present. Also, a photo of recent sewing on the helmet liner, now fully integrated with the oral-nasal mask, which is completely sealed and functional.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


There is not much to say about this!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Program and Further Testing

Above, the core flight simulation program, which I wrote on a bus commute after plenty of thought, a checklist, and an image from a recent pressure test with my buddy Brad Fortier. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle drift into position!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pressure Release Fitting Leak

Bubbles forming at the automatic suit pressure release fitting indicate a leak after I spray the unit with soapy water. I'll replace this fitting, which is only supposed to 'crack' or release pressure at 4psi, not the 2psi in the suit at t his photo. A pressure release is important as if the suit pressurization fitting is stuck in the 'ON' position it will want to fill the suit indefinitely, leading to a blowup! A cosmonaut once had his suit get into this terrible position and had to manually dump pressure so that he could fit back into the spacecraft hatch! Hairy stuff! He was gambling with the bends, but what else could he do? Won't happen to me! Second image is just a footage still of today's pressure check.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Publications

New items in press that have kept me captive of the keyboard and calculator for the last few months: "Building an Adaptive Framework for Human Space Colonization" for Proceedings of the 2012 NASA/DARPA 100 Year Starship Study Conference and "Humanity's Starship" [working title] as a feature on space colonization for Scientific American in early 2013. Also, "Estimating Populations for Interstellar Colonization Craft: Population Genetics Issues " for Acta Astronautica, journal of the International Academy of Astronautics (this is coauthored with two other people and authorship will be settled sooner rather than later). Hoo eee ----space calls :)