Brace for Impact

Today was a beautiful day, although it started with a few clouds. After analyzing yesterday’s logs we tried to optimize our acceleration curve and really pushed the climber to its limits.

After the arrival at the competition-site, we had our first timeslot for testruns. Due to “strong” winds, today the balloon was lowered. At every attempt we increased the travel distance step by step and finally set it to 147 m. This is a good point for explaining our descend algorithm. It works as follows: (1) Let the climber fall and (2) brake 20 m above ground level. As you know our electronics were developed “long time ago with perfect testing”, but after plenty of successful runs our microcontroller decided to reboot and thereby invented a new brake system – impact.

Our climber vs. japanese water container

Fortunately the climber remained one piece – just breaking the lower rope guidance. We didn’t even need a vacuum cleaner to collect the thousands of pieces we expected. BTW: The bumper had been designed as a crash element, so we brought spare parts (also painted in black).

20 minutes later our climber was repaired – shining as if nothing happened – and we were ready for our second….


But this time it was our own fault (like last time but differently): We had a perfect run but on the last 10 meters (which we typically descend manually) our wireless connection gave up for a short period of time… just in the wrong moment. Since we had a third rope-guidance-replacement-part we could repair the climber a second time and can now take it back home fully functional.

Leave a Reply