Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Skystation progress

All four sleeping modules are now added. I'm letting the hambros explore and get accustomed to the new layout for an hour or two before returning them to their much larger "land base". I'm pleased with the look of Skystation, it's really turning out well, has that "space station look" to it. Next up, adding the electronics, and rigging the supports w/fishing line in preparation for the balloon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sky Station WIP

Here's what I put together last night. Not much so far, but you can see by the base, those are the four cylindrical living modules I plan to mount radially around the outer wall of the top level. Somewhat modest, but this is just the Mk1. I've discovered from weighing what's built so far that it all weighs much less than I assumed it would. I've found a $34 latex weather balloon (incl. shipping) 8 foot diameter on eBay that will lift 7lbs and the skystation as-is doesn't quite reach 1lb. This means future skystations may be considerably larger and better equipped. For now, I'm content to build this small "outpost in the sky" to test the idea for feasibility, before committing to anything grander in scope.

Skystation construction has begun.

In anticipation of warmer weather to come, I've begun building the Skystation in earnest. The two vertically oriented modules with climbing tube and water bottle are complete. Yet to be added are the cylindrical modules jutting off the upper section. I am leaving out the lead acid battery as mentioned in the last post, power will be sent from the ground or from a much smaller/lighter onboard lithium battery instead, lower module will be used for bulk food storage.

Pictures soon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rethinking skystation design

Having measured night time temps outside I've concluded that for use during summer no heater is needed, and LED lights consume so little power I can run them from a small usb lithium battery pack for many days. So including a lead acid battery is unnecessary.

This frees up weight for additional living space, which I have concluded based on experience with the underwater habitats should be large enough for a running wheel. The existing design is not. I still want it to have multiple levels and be very three dimensional in layout but the central chamber will have to be some type of container I've not found yet which can accommodate the same type of running saucer as Hambase Alpha.

Warmth won't be an issue; The silical gel will keep down humidity, and as hamsters were originally desert dwellers, the warm, dry conditions inside during the day will be comfortable. At night, temps won't become uncomfortably low as established by repeat measuement, so ample bedding fluff ought to be sufficient.

This does mean the design will be somewhat simpler. But a skystation just doesn't need to be as sophisticated as an underwater hab. Cutting down on the gadgetry means I can make the station larger, which will be cooler and make for more spacious living conditions for the hamsternauts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Initial skystation design

I decided it might be too lazy just to buy a cool space stationy looking habitrail cage and suspend it from a balloon. So here's a Skystation Mk1 design based on a recent Hampture habitat I liked.I have more of the same peices and building one that doesn't need to be watertight will be even easier.

As you can see it will be using a rather heavy lead acid battery for power. This is necessary because custom lithium battery packs are a lot harder to make, safely charge and so on. If it's small (like a motorcycle stater battery) it shouldn't weigh too much. The weather balloon I have my eye on lifts 7 pounds. The completed station should weigh nearly that much so the upward pull doesn't strain the station or fishing line.

The solar fan cools during the day, counteracting the battery heated floor. Then at night (because it is solar powered) it shuts off, allowing the heated floor to do what it's there for. I am contemplating some kind of light sensor that will prevent the heated floor and LED lights from staying on during the day, to save power. Also possibly solar panels mounted on the ends of dual trusses, to charge the battery. But weight is an issue here, the battery is aleady a bit much, the solar panels might put it over the top.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nixing the rocket?

Giving serious thought to nixing the rocket portion of this project based on concerns voiced by commenters. If you tell me to lose that portion of this project I will. I'd make it up by having some other cool element, like maybe using a quadrotor to do aerial footage of the station at full height or something. Thoughts?