Lectures, Balloon Launches and TV Shows

We are in the peak of our efforts to conduct the educational competition Balloon Stellar Stratosphere in Croatia. Australian team members, Robert and Jason Brand, and our CTO, Tim Blaxland, have arrived to Zagreb, Croatia, to help us launch the balloons carrying the students' experiments as the payload.

We are organizing two different launches of two balloons each time, and two recovery teams with a terrain vehicles for each launch too. It is very important (crucial for the competition) for us to find the payloads and bring back the experiments to the teams. If we fail to do that, the whole competition will be jeopardized. We are doing everything possible to prepare for any scenario. Think positive! 

Yesterday, on April 16th  Team Stellar have organized formal presentation of Balloon Stellar Stratosphere competition in the National and University Library in Zagreb, Croatia. Stjepan Bedić and Theo Valich have presented our team and the competition. We also presented our high school teams, and the prizes they can win. After the formal part, Robert, Jason and Tim (with a little help of  other team members) launced the balloon, near the fountains infront of the library.

Stjepan Bedic talks on the Balloon Stellar Stratosphere presentation in the National and University Library in Zagreb, Croatia



Stellar Aerospace Croatian Tour

In order to take the full advantage of the Robert's, Tim's and Jason's visit to Croatia, we have organized a series of lectures and workshops entitled the Stellar Aerospace Croatian Tour.

Robert Brand (Head of the Communications, Tracking and Data Division) will hold the lectures entitled: Behind the Apollo missions (Failure Could Always have Been an Option), as an insider view of different space missions. Here is the announcement for the lecture:

Did you know that the total of 12 men walked on the surface of the Earth's satellite called the Moon? Last time the humankind walked on the Moon was 42 years ago, during the Apollo 17 program. All of them were pioneers in the actual Moon walk, not the Michael Jackson type. They risked their lives and used high end technology to go there (and back!), successfully and alive! The computers of that time had less processing power than your current cell phone or even two generations before the current ones. Those computers were less capable than a basic calculator. The Apollo's Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw a 50 kg shrapnel 5 km away, and NASA couldn't rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff. NASA seated its VIP spectators 5.5 km away from the launchpad. Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but the Apollo 11's hydrogen-gas filters didn't work, making every drink bubbly. Using a toilet in zero gravity was not figured out. Some aspects of it were so troublesome that at least one astronaut spent his entire mission on an anti-diarrhea drug. The "one small step for man" wasn't actually that small. Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn't compress. He had to hop 1 m from the Eagle's ladder to the surface. When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle's door because there was no outer handle. 

Tim Blaxland, Robert and Jason Brand

The Apollo 11 astronauts were not the only ones risking their lives and, in Sydney, some of the NASA staff almost ended up in a physical conflict about which station to take the TV feed from. And the list goes on... What were the technical aspects of those missions? If you want to hear a story from a person who was involved in it, this is the perfect time, you just have to join our lecture and listen to Robert Brand, who did his small, but important contribution to saving the link and enabling Armstrong to share his experiences about the "giant leap for mankind".

He will also have a presentation (with his son Jason) Do-It-Yourself aerospace: a Father & son experience about cheap, efficient and easy ways to go in space explorations

After every lecture, we will present a 10-minute video of the Apollo missions in 3D, an exclusive 10 minutes set of three dimensional pictures that will take the viewer on a first hand tour of the Moon from the astronaut's perspective. This will be the first time that it will be seen internationally, not anywhere in Europe or US, but within the Team Stellar Croatian tour.

Tim Blaxland (CTO) will conduct two workshops on the topic “Explore the universe on your own computer”. He will help the students learn how to use some cheap or free software to explore the universe at home.

 New Space Related TV Shows Are Great Boost to Our Efforts

Something is moving in our direction. Space exploration begins to be fashionable once again. Last few weeks, I was glued to my TV set for hours for the new TV shows Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey with Neal DeGrass Tyson, and also the excellent show: Earth From Space.

I won't talk about these TV shows, you have probably watched them (If not, you should), but it can be a great boost to our fundraising and other efforts. Ordinary people can learn about space, space explorations and difficulties of it.

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