Houston, we HAD a problem

It's always nice to have all problems come up at the start of an adventure so they can be solved quickly. Today was the day that Richard and Lisa were to begin their trek across the country with all of our supplies. They're spending 25-30 hours on the road with our gear so the rest of us can meet them in Houston in a couple of days.

Photo: Bit of advice. Never challenge Richard or Lisa to a game of #tetris. #balloonshuttle #roadtrip

Of course we ran into a challenge getting our equipment to the van this morning. We showed up at the studio, ready to pack the van and discovered the elevator was out of order. That was a bit of a downer, but we did eventually get the backup freight elevator unlocked so we could use that. A couple hours behind schedule, we managed to send our drivers on the road.


New Inflators for this build

New installations always present new challenges. This time around, we're dealing with more precision pieces than normal. Most of the community builds we do have a more organic feel to them. A Space Shuttle, however, needs to, well, look like an official NASA Space Shuttle. It needs all of it's component pieces to fit together exactly. We have lots of automatic inflators that size everything the same every time. There are such inflators on the market, and we use them all the time. However, we needed a lot more of them this time than we have in our own inventory.


One of the greatest gifts of the space program has been it's contribution to every day technology. In that spirit, it was clear that it was time to spend a few hours in the workshop. After all, we've never been afraid to build the equipment we've needed in the past. These new foot-triggered Inflatinators (thanks Dr. Doofenshmirtz for inspiring the name) can rapidly inflate two balloons at once, with each nozzle able to be preset independently. So far, they're working better than any inflators we've used.  We were even able to build four units for less than the cost of a single commercial unit. We'll see how they hold up over the week, but we're pretty confident they'll do the job. We're excited about taking the Inflatinator out on it's native voyage on the Space Shuttle.