New Space and Tech

Update on LaserMotive Efforts at the Spaceward Games

By Marc Boucher
April 8, 2013
Filed under

Tom Nugent wanted to clarify what problems they had when they did their first climbing attempt. Earlier I had reported that “the team experienced power issues that prevented them getting power to their laser.” Here’s Tom explanation of the problems.

We did have a brief incident with a shorting wire (the source of that smoke in the one photo), but we were able to repeatedly power our lasers and get power from our PV array.

Our issues had to do with vehicle electronics. Specifically, some last-minute changes made our motor controller stop working. On our second attempt that night, we’re pretty sure that the vehicle tried to climb, but the guy holding the belay line wound up holding the vehicle down. He was outside the safety curtains and hence couldn’t see in. He was new and didn’t know enough about the system or the belay line, and we just didn’t communicate properly at midnight in the rain. It is, of course, extremely frustrating that holding the bottom belay line prevented us from qualifying, but we’ll learn from our mistakes and improve our system and procedures for next year.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.