12 August 2008 LOIRP Status

After being away for a week and coming back I am very happy to report our current progress. The guys have done a marvelous job in turning the McDonald’s into a working laboratory. The fake planter in the middle of the room has now been turned into a nice working table for the testing of the hardware on the drives. They have also put together the wiring for power in the area in a manner that is safe and efficient for working. Pictures follow of this.
On the technical side, a lot of progress was made there as well. We have the second drive brought to functional status. Since we don’t have the money to replace all the parts we are not going much further but there are things that we can do with the drive to test parts and subsystems while the primary drive is being optimized for full operation. I am including an abbreviated video here but a longer one will be on the Facebook page of both drives operating at once.
Kenneth Williams has been testing all of our heads and it may be that we have more than the one good head. There are electronics that have degraded that may need replacing but there is no reason that we can’t get more than one head operational. We have verified that the known good head is in very good shape so we are confident of it when we actually put a real tape on the drive.
We have ordered and the parts are on the way for the Data Acquisition system as well as our image analysis software. We are doing an interim solution for our computer by renting one from the ODIN system here at Ames in order to maintain our schedule and our progress rate.
We are still on track to have a real Lunar Orbiter tape on the drive by the end of the month and we will continue to update you all on our progress. I cannot say enough good about the competence of Ken Zin and the enthusiastic participation and hard work of our students. We are going to be talking to their faculty advisors about them obtaining engineering credit for their work as it has been a very good lesson in overall engineering design and real world experience.