Leaving Boise, ID in the morning we traveled over 180 miles to the NAE camp in the Alvord Desert. The terrain varied from bucolic to mountainous, but always sparse in terms in people or conveniences. Once arriving at the camp, we quickly greeted the NAE team and began the process of setting up the Internet satellite communications network (SATCOM). The SATCOM is critical as it bridges communications begin the global audience and the NAE vehicle on the ground.
Our surprise of the day was the 507 lbs. SATCOM would not be able to get into its upright position was in the back of the truck. The problem required us to offload the equipment to the desert floor and get a clear line of sight to the satellite at ground level. The task was not overly difficult and the SATCOM’s automated procedures created the link and operationalized its WiFi network.
The next task was to ensure that the Field Gateway is connected to the NAE local network. This required that the MAC address of the Field Gateway’s computer be added as a static IP client to the NAE gateway node. This did not initially work as expected and with the help of Steve Wallace from NAE, we quickly diagnosed the issue and resolved.
The device is operational, but exhibits a temperamental behavior. When the device’s app starts after boot, the serial connections from the sensors do not always begin transmitting measurements. However, if the app is restarted the behavior is resolved. If the device is rebooted, the issue is reintroduced. Mark is trying to find a workaround to resolve and reduce complexity in the field.
The 2 drones were successfully tested and will be able to perform some aerial video in the field. Our hope is to get some incredible aerial shots of the NAE as it speeds across the desert floor. The run is an outstanding 10.5 miles, which increases the safety factor and possibly speed.
We are operationalized for Day 4, which includes a test run by Ed Shadle in the afternoon. We will test our equipment and software in the hostile conditions of the Alvord Desert and attempt bring a glimpse of what is about to come. We will fly 1 drone for video and check the connectivity with the Field Gateway and NAE local network across the 7-10 mile stretch of the run. I am sure a few unexpected surprises all be waiting for us.
Be sure to sign up for SMS notifications, so we can notify you when the runs starts. You can check out the Web site or use the mobile apps (search Pegasus Mission and download the Pegasus Mission – NAE app) to watch the test run on Tuesday. You can send friendly message to the NAE vehicle over the Web site and mobile app…we encourage it after notifications are sent. We will send link out to the Day 3 pictures on the Twitter feed @PegasusMission.
Buttoned up on end of Day 3, we begin the 2.5+ hour, 150 mile drive to the hotel.
God speed Ed Shadle and Jessi Combs.
Dare Might Things 🙂