Space Cowboys Take Delivery of New HAMbulance

Sheriff David Doran Presents the Space Cowboys with the Keys to their new Chase Vehicle

The Eldorado Space Cowboys scored a major Coup last week when they acquired a new chase vehicle for their space program. In the past, the students chased and recovered their probes using a school suburban. Since these vehicles are multi-use, they had to install any equipment the day before launch, and then remove it the day after launch. This greatly reduced the amount of high tech gear that could be incorporated into chase and recovery operations.

This will no longer be an issue, as Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran has provided the team with their very own chase vehicle. The vehicle formerly served as the Schleicher County Command and Control Center, so it is already decked out with high tech surveillance and communication gear. The Space Cowboys will now equip the vehicle with equipment that will allow the team to track the space probe in flight from the back of the vehicle, and will allow communication back to Mission Control via 2M, 40M and 80M HAM radios.

Acquiring this vehicle will allow the Space Cowboys to take their Space Program to the next level. You can follow the Space Cowboy’s work at their FACEBOOK PAGE

Ham Van
Sheriff David Doran Explains the use of emergency and law enforcement communication gear to the Space Cowboys
Ham Van
Students prepare to retrofit the HAMbulance with HAM gear

Launch of Eagle V

My students will be launching their Eagle V space probe this Friday, February 19, 2016 at 7:45 AM CST. You can watch a live stream of the launch at:

They are attempting to reach an altitude of over 100,000 feet, while maintaining live telemetry. Please tune in for the live launch and wish our Space Cowboys well!

2015-2016 Space Cowboys

Space Cowboys
League of Extraordinary Space Cowboys

As most of you know, I teach High School, and in addition to all the engineering and math classes I teach, I have a class where the students design and build sophisticated instrument packages, and then launch them to the edge of space on High Altitude Balloons.

Students must apply and then be accepted into this program, and the class is a block that takes most of the afternoon.  The program is called the League of Extraordinary Space Cowboys, and the team usually gets two launches off a year. Pictured above is this year’s group.

I am really looking forward to working with this group of talented young people . . . they are among the best students I have ever had. You can follow their work on facebook HERE.

Steaming Up the Nile

Ugandan Soldier
Our Car Was Commandeered by Ugandan Soldiers

While making a quick run into Uganda, ended up getting my car commandeered at a Military checkpoint. Soldiers wanted us to take them to Kampala, but we ended up at the Nile. They made arrangements for transport by boat, and we steamed up to the headwaters of the Nile River. We collected water from the headwaters of the Nile for a Souvenir.

Nile River
Steaming Up the Nile
Headwater Nile River
Head water of the Nile River

Review of the 3DR X8+ Unmanned Aerial Drone Multicopter

As most of you know, I teach High School Engineering, so I am always looking for exciting platforms from which I can make Match, Physics, Engineering and Programming Fun and Exciting. I have done a lot of work with Edge of Space Ballooning, but was looking for something that would allow more flights, and more COL (Cycles of Learning) per year.

I think I have happened onto something that might be the ultimate Engineering teaching tool for High School. This is the 3DR X8+ Unmanned Aerial Drone.

I have spent about six months working with this unit, and am very excited about it. I consider it to be an exceptional teaching platform and the students like it.

This is something they have to put together, read instructions carefully, and learn in order to get it up and running. This though, is one of the things I like about it. We need to teach Engineering, and some of the really ready to fly out of the box drones like the Phantom are fun, but do not offer the same educational opportunities.

I have gotten excellent technical support from 3DR when I hit a snag I can not figure out. We have had dozens of successful flights on this platform, and are now starting to build our own instrument packages to fly on it.

It requires attention, but mastering the use of this unit is well withen the skill set of motivated High School Students.

I do plan on doing lessons on some of the things we do with this drone in the future.

Making The World a Better Place One High Tech Project at a Time. Enjoy!