I temporarily taped the impact
bumper and harness to the bottom of
the airframe and then drilled four
holes through the straps, plate, and
airframe. I then used four #6-32 bolts,
fender washers, and nylocks to attach
the harness and impact bumper to
the bottom of the airframe.
Now, it was time to attach the
arms of the harness to the airframe.
So, I drilled two holes through each
harness strap and corner. Before
inserting bolts through the holes in
the straps, I ran a hot soldering iron
through the holes to melt their edges.
Sixteen #6-32 bolts, 16 fender
washers, and eight nylocks bolt the
sides of the airframe to the harness.
The fender washers are
important because they increase the
surface area under compression by
the nylocks. Spreading out the area
under pressure lessens the likelihood
that the Styrofoam will crack from
That completed the construction
of the airframe. The next step was to
modify the avionics pallet, battery
box, and hatch closure. I’ll write
about those modifications next time.
The new airframe is a bit heavier
than my older design. However, I feel
this new design is stronger and
addresses weakness issues in the
older design. The old design was
good and rarely experienced a
failure. I’m hoping to reduce those
rare failures to the point where I will
never see them again.
When the chaos of burst gets
really rough, the near spacecraft will
continue to transmit position reports
that chase crews can use.
Onwards and Upwards,
Your near space guide NV
Wow! It's been 10 years since I started writing for Nuts & Volts. This will be the
64th article I have written about near space exploration. I've focused primarily on the
science technology aspects of this hobby. One result was that it gave me the idea and
confidence to base my PhD dissertation around BalloonSats and its effects on student
interest in science. Thanks Nuts & Volts.
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I used two bolts
to attach each arm
of the harness to
the airframe. The
the nylocks will
Styrofoam of the
November 2013 65