The Ravenna Ultra-Low-Altitude Vehicle is a treehouse equipped to explore the lower frontier of the troposphere.
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Read about: All entries Jon's build log Jeremy's electronics log Grandma Jan's flight suit
Flight suit
Friday, October 16, 2009 -- grandmajan

The idea for an astronaut suit started with a cheesy play helmet about 6 months ago (Eliot's birthday). Then it became apparent that the scope and scale of the rocket project was calling for something more ornate. The look was for big zippers, lots of velcro on the sleeves and arm pockets and neato space patches.

Now to get this thing finished before Eliot has grown out of it or lost interest. How long do you think it will stay white? Oh, who really cares! :v) After two fittings, here's what we have so far. Once we know it fits I will be putting in the hefty black metal zipper up the front, then a black thick cowling-like collar (to keep the helmet "air tight" - ha, like a fuzzy space helmet will need that. But, you know, it's the look we're after here.)

The parachute straps and wide belt are pinned on in their general planned locations. Belt carriers will be added on the shoulders and waist to keep them in place. Hummm, looks like the shoulder strap covers up the NASA patch, so we might have to figure out a different place for it.

Just had to have the original NASA patch :v) Also I think we might need a patch for this mission: Ravenna Ultra-Low-Altitude Vehicle

Dress rehearsal
Sunday, October 25, 2009 -- grandmajan

With intentions of finishing up the suit on Saturday, I pulled together all the stuff that I could conceivably need and we headed over to the rocket launch pad location. It was time for a final fitting before I begin making things really permanent and that can't be reversed. Fitting looks good.

So: Next step: get the zipper installed. Find the zipper in the big bag of stuff. No zipper. A huge bag of anything I "might" get to, and the next step item was missing. So off to Jo-Ann's, 10 mile round trip, to get another zipper (actually got two varieties just in case...) Got home and the girls were up from their nap. Whee! So we happily had kid/grandparent playtime, read Box Car Children with Eliot, ate pizza, more fun playtime, then kiddo's bedtime. Ah, time and energy gone, so it was time to go home, dragging the suit home in just about the exact same state I had taken it over in. Which was OK, because I would much rather play with the kids. :v) Sewing I can do at home.

So today I pinned, then basted in the zipper. Several pin pricks later I was ready to sew the thing in. Wow! Installed in the first attempt. Yeah! While sewing I was contemplating what to do about the tricky design of the collar, and began wondering - is this thing going to be a scratchy, bothersome thing that he might not like anyway? So we await the verdict on that from the rocket manufacturer and the astronaut who will have to live in it for awhile.

Flight suit finished!
Thursday, October 29, 2009 -- grandmajan

The most fun project I've ever done! :v)

The surprise
Monday, January 4, 2010 -- grandmajan

It took a lot of tongue-biting, but I did keep the secret until Jon's Christmas present was revealed. A captain can't fly without his second mate being suited up, so there just had to be a second astronaut suit. A bit of tweeking here and there, add the sleeves belts, and then it will be ready for the maiden flight. Looks like we have another deadline to meet, since the rocket is just about ready for the launch pad!