Highlights from 2009 Competition

Written by on Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Below is a brief summary of what we accomplished this week. Once we return to Seattle, I’ll have time to write up much more about this awesome competition. As I’ve said before, we have a great team — our people are our greatest asset. So here are the highlights of our competition entry:

  • Powered a climber weighing 5.2kg to an altitude of 1km.
  • Powered a climber at a speed of 4m/s to an altitude of 1km.
  • Produced more than 1 kW of electrical power via power beaming (distance greater than 300 meters).
  • Powered a climber with a net load greater than 10kg at a speed over 6m/s.

That last item is our estimate of what happened Friday, when somehow our bottom stop became stuck on the climber, so it was dragged up the cable roughly 100 feet. During that interval, our climber reached speeds of 6m/s. The bottom stop weighs about 0.5kg, but it is also a friction clamp and will not start sliding below ~8kg of load. Its sliding friction is lower. So we were dragging a total load (climber plus bottom stop weight plus bottom stop friction) somewhere above 10kg (maybe much higher) by my estimate. Once we have time to go look at the data, we may have more detailed results to post here. Once the bottom stop came off, our load went way down and we then had too much laser power on the array, causing the power converter board to overheat.

Right now, our team is going to pack our truck+trailer for the drive back to Seattle.

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