to opposite sides of the airframe.
These bolts perform double-duty.
First, they hold quad panels to the
airframe, then second, they hold the
pallet in place.
Quad panels are plastic plates
that attach experiments to the sides
of the airframe. Two of the quad
panels on opposite sides of the
airframe have extra long top bolts
(there are four bolts per quad panel).
These bolts are long enough to
extend another inch inside the
airframe and capture the GPS/battery
The bolts used to capture the
GPS/battery pallet are actually
eyebolts. The eye portion of the
eyebolt is located on the outside of
the airframe. So, to remove the
GPS/battery pallet, I back out the
eyebolt by unscrewing it while
preventing the nut from spinning.
Since there are four eye bolts in
the new airframe (two on each side),
it is next to impossible for the
GPS/battery pallet to come loose
during a mission. So, why use
eyebolts for securing the GPS/battery
pallet? It’s for the hatch.
The last modification to my near
space airframes is the hatch. The old
hatch design used four straps of
Velcro™to secure it to the airframe.
For over 80 missions, it was just
those four straps that held everything
inside the airframe.
Now, two 10 inch long bungee
cords fasten the hatch to the airframe
using the eyebolts that capture the
The first hook of the bungee
cord connects to one eyebolt
protruding from the side of the
airframe. It then stretches over the
hatch and over the top of the
The second hook of the bungee
connects to an eyebolt located on
the other side of the airframe. A
second bungee cord does the same
so that the hatch is held in place by
the tension of the two cords.
As long as the eyebolts can’t pull
free, the cords hold the hatch down
on the airframe more strongly than
the Velcro straps. Plus, the bungee
cords are fast connectors, so it only
takes a few seconds to open and
close the hatch.
That does it for the new airframe
design. As I write this month’s
column, I’m experimenting with ion
chambers as an affordable means to
measure radiation in near space. I
should be able to let you know the
results of my experiments next time.
Also, don’t forget about the
Great Plains Super Launch. Zack
Clobes of Project: Traveler is this
year’s host. The conference is open
to anyone interested in learning more
about amateur near space
So, if you’re free June 12th and
13th, plan to visit us in Hutchinson,
KS. I might just put you to work filling
Two long 6-32 bolts capture the sides of the pallet to the airframe. There’s
another pair of bolts on the other side of the pallet that aren’t shown in
A cross-section of the GPS/battery pallet and how it’s connected to
64 March 2014