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HERO (May 2005)

We will provide updates and status reports on each flight using their own separate campaign pages. Please go to the individual flights page listed under Project Status and News on the left side of this page.

                             Thank You

November 9, 2004

We would like to welcome the addition of 3 more equipment sponsors:

MSI Sensors is providing pressure sensors to monitor the pressure inside and outside of the electronics box during the mission.

Crossbow Technologies is contributing their CXM544 Magnetometer that will provide the payload orientation over time. This will be important to developing the controls for the telescope tracking.

DeLorme has given us a new Earthmate GPS system which will give us accurate payload position and speed data.

Check out their logos on the Partners and Sponsors page!

Sorry for the delay in getting out the latest info on the project...I just got connected to the internet. Now that I am I will be updating more often. We are waiting for a good weather day for a launch (...maybe the 26th??...).

Check the NEW! Cosmocam Test page for the updates of this campaign!

We are getting things together for the test flight on board HERO (see Aug 18 update). At this point we have almost all the components for building the electrical system. The mechanical components are being fabricated (as I write this) by Carl Foster at C.F.M.I. in Alexandria VA. Carl's a top notch machinist who has been making parts for RSI for several years now (inlcuding some of the hardware on the Mars Odyssey 2001!).

A special thanks goes to Norm Dobson and Stephen Holder of NASA Goddard. Norm has been working on the test flight's software so we can control the Nextel Videocam from the ground. His work will also allow us to monitor the instrument temperature during the flight. Stephen built the US Sensor temperature sensors into modular components that can be added and removed easily.

Bryan is working on setting up the communication architecture for the flight. As with all these flights a "compatibility" test is performed once the entire payload is ready. This test demonstrates that the payload doesn't have any interference issues with regard to communications or electrical systems. Once the payload passes this test it is declared "flight ready" and is put into the launch schedule. Bryan will ensure that Cosmocam is compatible.

A couple of "mass" models are being readied for shipment to the launch site in order to act a as placeholders on the parent payload (HERO) during the pointing calibrations. This will buy us a bit more time to complete the rest of the system. We anticipate integrating the flight system just prior to the compatibility test (around the 10th of September).

CosmoCam has found a couple of test flights that will fly out of New Mexico this fall!

The first flight will be on board the HERO payload which is flying out of Ft. Sumner, NM in mid-September. HERO is headed up by Dr. Brian Ramsey of the Marshal Space Flight Center. It is a large x-ray telescope requiring high accuracy in pointing. HERO stands for High Energy Replicated Optics (see HERO).

The second is on board NASA's Ultra Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) program's test flight that is to be flown around the end of October out of Ft. Sumner. The ULDB represents the future of NASA's scientific balloon program. It will allow sub-orbital science missions for up to 100 days for substantially less costs than space flights. A lot of science can be performed on these stratospheric platforms! (see ULDB)

We have been steadily working toward our first flight test. Hopefully we can build a flight system by the end of August with some schedule margin for the September integration and test. Although this test will not be available to the general public (it's just a test!) we will post updates and video clips of the flight on this site...stay tuned!

Below are a couple of photos of the CosmoCam Beta setup in the lab!

TelescopeThe telescope with Planetcam at the back (note camera on top of tube, this is temporary for a demo) . 

CosmoCam being prototyped in the lab. Note the flight computer in the center (compare it to the CD to its left).

We are still rolling along! We received some of the needed hardware in July as well as bringing on new and important sponsorships.

We would like to welcome Nextel Communications as a major sponsor! Nextel will be sponsoring the second video cam. This will allow students to watch the launch as well as see what the world looks like from near space!

Sony Electronics Inc. came through for us with the delivery of the X505 Notebook! It is a beauty! All 1.85 lbs of it! This will serve as our flight computer (since we are designing for low instrument weight). Thanks Sony!

US Sensors has come onboard by providing a complement of temperature sensors that we will be using to determine the state of health of Cosmocam during the mission.

During July, a number of representatives of NASA Explorer Schools dropped by to have a look at the development of Cosmocam. They were given a brief presentation of the hardware and project by Scott Murphy. There were representatives from Eastern Middle School in Montgomery County, MD, Smyrna School district in DE, and Greencastle in PA.

June 2004 Update

So far so good. We have received a donated ETX-105 telescope from Meade Instruments and a Planetcam video camera from Adirondack Video Astronomy. These have been tested together for daytime operation and produced great imagery!

We are expecting a donated notebook computer from Sony of America that will serve as the onboard flight computer. It is the super-lightweight X505 that weighs only 1.85 lbs!

We are currently talking with several potential sponsors that will be vital to the success of the project.

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