EOSS Handbook Chapter 1

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  • 1.1. Who we are
  • 1.2. What we do
  • 1.3. Student involvement
  • 1.4. How your experiment can ride an EOSS flight
  • 1.4.1. Your proposal
  • 1.4.2. EOSS flight number assignment
  • 1.4.3. Experiment development schedule

1.1. Who we are

<<Jack Crabtree>> Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) is a Denver, Colorado based non-profit organization that promotes science and education through amateur radio and high altitude balloons. Formed in early 1991, EOSS has grown to a membership of 100 plus individuals who actively utilize amateur radio and balloons to further scientific study of the upper atmosphere and encourage studies of mathematics and science by students. Membership is available to all interested persons. While many EOSS members are amateur radio operators or "hams," being such is not a requirement, although a number of members have taken up the hobby after joining EOSS. Student membership is encouraged and, a reduced membership rate is available. In addition to the normal slate of directors and officers, EOSS is organized with a number of teams or committees. Some of these groups include technical, public relations, tracking and recovery, and education. There is ample opportunity for all members to be actively involved in EOSS projects. EOSS is incorporated in the State of Colorado and is recognized by both Colorado and the U. S. government as a 501(c)(3), tax exempt, scientific-educational organization.

1.2. What we do

<<Jack Crabtree>> EOSS conducts four or five balloon projects each year, sending scientific payloads to approximately 100,000 feet. An on-board computer and command and telemetry system provide for control and real time data down link of experiment data in the payload package. In many cases, live video from the payload is available and views of the earth and the edge of space have been made. Educational institutions and other scientific oriented organizations are encouraged to participate in EOSS projects and programs.

A standardized payload, called the "Shuttle" has been developed and is being refined to accommodate various experiments. Many of them have been designed and built by students. Members have many opportunities to exchange ideas with their fellow members.

A monthly meeting is conducted on the second Tuesday of each month. The formal meeting starts at 7:30 P.M. with an informal gathering at 7:00 P.M. for social and show-and-tell activities. On each remaining Tuesday, a radio meeting-on-the-air, or net, is conducted on 147.225 MHz. Here, weekly updates on EOSS projects and news bulletins concerning amateur radio balloon projects around the country are discussed. For non-radio amateurs, this net can be monitored on most police type scanners.

A newsletter, the STRATOSPHERE, is published quarterly containing both technical and non-technical articles for dissemination of information to EOSS members. Two computer accessed bulletin boards are also available. One operates on amateur radio packet while the other is accessed by telephone.

1.3. Student involvement

Students of all age groups are involved with EOSS ballooning. They have provided experiments, assisted with launch operations, communications, and tracking and recovery. High school and grammar school students have created plots as the balloon flies. These are typically: TEMP vs. ALTITUDE, ALTITUDE vs. TIME, VELOCITY vs. TIME, and the balloon flight path. Opportunities are essentially unlimited.

1.4. How your experiment can ride an EOSS flight

1.4.1. Your proposal

<<Paul Ternlund>> If you have an experiment you would like taken to the edge of space, please present your proposal at an EOSS meeting. General meetings of the EOSS are held at the Digital Equipment Building on Chester Rd near County Line Road. Meetings are on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM. A ten minute briefing and a short white paper are requested.

1.4.2. EOSS flight number assignment

After review by the EOSS Technical Committee and approval by the general membership, an EOSS Flight number (e.g., EOSS#10) will be assigned to your experiment. This will establish the launch order in case there are other flights in the queue. The period between flights ranges from 1 to 3 months.

1.4.3. Experiment development schedule

<<Paul Ternlund & Mike Manes>> A typical schedule an experimenter might have is as follows:

  • Concept formulation (days to weeks)
  • White paper preparation (days)
  • White paper presentation and 10 minute briefing
  • Initial OK by general membership
  • Assignment of an EOSS mentor (experimenter's prime contact)
  • Tech Committee review & analysis (weeks). During this time, EOSS will work with the experimenter to establish feasibility, detailed interface to the Shuttle, refine scientific goals, and set requirements. This culminates in a Tech Committee go/no-go decision.)
  • Preliminary Design (documents previous effort)
  • Prelim. Design Review & Tech Committee analysis to General Membership
  • General membership go/no-go & flight no. assignment.
  • Detail Design (dimensioned drawings, schematics, power & weight, risk analysis, reliability analysis)
  • Build
  • Test for conformance to requirements
  • Critical design review (Present final design, test results)
  • General membership OK & schedule flight date(s)
  • Integration with EOSS Shuttle & System test (2 weeks)
  • Flight
  • Day of launch preflight testing
  • Assist in launch
  • Monitor experiment in flight and collect data
  • Assemble data
  • Post-flight debriefing
  • Flight data analysis
  • Prepare report
  • What was learned?
  • What was not learned?
  • Recommendations for follow-up experiments
  • Present report to EOSS
  • Publish, distribute report to peer community.
  • Gain fame, fortune, notoriety, free ride at MIT???

As you can see, a lot of time and effort is involved in a flight. However, all steps may not be required for every flight.

After a flight schedule is announced, the EOSS Shuttle is readied for flight, a launch site is selected, FAA flight plan filed, helium purchased, the recovery team is assembled, and winds and weather are analyzed.

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