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Sucess

We successfully beat the Laser Powered flight endurance record by double. Our flight time was 25 hours, 0 Minutes and 35 seconds. This was done at the VOX theater in Kansas City Kansas. We used a highly modified AR-Drone Quadcopter. We did this with 500 watts of laser power and non-exotic photovoltaic cells. Our total systems hardware costs were less than $30,000. I estimate this is well less than 1/3 of the 2009 record. Much of the hardware would cost even less if purchased today. This shows the exponential increase in human technological abilities is alive and well and that commercial laser powered flight applications are only a few years away. We can look forward to flying cell towers, autonomous shark patrols and countless other applications that only become practical with beam powered flight.

Achieving the record was not without drama. The planed for 48 hours got trimmed back to 24. We continued to 25 so we could double the previous record. Turns out that human endurance plays a role as we became tired human mistakes became a prominent concern.  The lasers themselves worked flawlessly. The optics needed adjustment at the start. The quadcopter behaved like the finicky result of hacking a toy for purposes well beyond those it’s creators ever imagined. The Kansas City Star article covered all this well with this article: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/29/4517656/kansas-city-team-breaks-record.html

We are on the cover of the online version of the paper today. We also have 3 of the top photos of the day. http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/29/4518697/star-shots-best-photos-from-sept.html

We are in the Monday print version. I have not gotten out to get one yet this morning.

Thanks to all our supporters and sponsors. We could not be here without you.

Lasers by TRUMPF

Optics by Thorlabs

Control software by National Instruments

 
Record Setting Science

All is set for this weekends record attempt. You can tune in live and check it out at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/brianturner

Launch is set for Friday 6:30 PM CDT We plan to fly till 6:30 pm Sunday. The previous record of 12 hours 27 minutes should be passed at about 7 am Saturday.

Helping me with this record are Chad, Don, Frank, Quinn, Ravi, and Joe. Ustream has a chat function that we will be active on during the flight.

 

 
The Date is Set!

The date is finally set! Sept. 27 to the 29th we will attempt to set a new record for beam powered flight duration. We are a bit behind schedule, just a year.

 

In that year I have been much more active in my kid's lives by working as a volunteer in Boy Scouts and FIRST Robotics, I also had the best year ever in my business. But I did keep working on the power beaming project in the spare-spare time from all of that.

 

The plan is to launch between 6 and 7 PM on Friday and fly till as late as 7 or 8 PM Sunday.

 

The goal when we started this project was to start a business part time and have it grow to full time over the course of a few years allowing us to hire our fellow Space Pirates full time as we grew. However, now I see that path as always leaving my family with the short end of the stick. So although I still have an eye out for going full time professional as a power beamer I look at it as an all or nothing kind of deal. That may change as my children graduate from high school, but for now I will just be a power beaming hobbyist.

 

I will be posting more technical details on our web site in the next few days. Here is a photo of our computer screen with the quadcopter's view of the hall.

screenshot_with_vox.jpg

 

 
Dawn video

Here is the video promoting the Quad-copter power beaming flight.

 

 

 
Beaten to the punch

Our rival, LaserMotive, made a press release yesterday that they had kept a stalker UAV flying for 48 hours in a wind tunnel. This is great news for the technology of power beaming but it certainly steals some of our thunder.

 It is clear to me that they have been working on this for some time and the flight is not in response to our efforts. The one thing I do think is in response to us is the 48 hour timeframe.

So... Congratulations LaserMotive on a job well done! 

 Our response is that we are going to scale back the duration of our flight to something easier for us to manage. The 48 hours was making the venue and staffing a challenge and now there is little point in beating them by some negligible amount. 

 

 

 
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