Balloon, MacroFab, macrofab engineering podcast, MEP, Paige Brown, Podcast, Sasha Maldonado, SSI, Stanford, ValBal
engineering podcast

MEP EP#64: Stanford Student Space Initiative with Sasha Maldonado and Paige Brown

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Twitter: @MacroFab

Runtime: (44:12)

Parker Dillmann
Stephen Kraig

Sasha Maldonado
Paige Brown

Podcast Notes

  • Our guests this week are Sasha Maldonado and Paige Brown of the Stanford Student Space Initiative.
  • Sasha Maldonado
    • Stanford junior majoring in Electrical Engineering.
    • Now retired avionics lead on the ValBal project, and has been with the project since its inception.
    • Co-presidents of the Student Space Initiative, also known as SSI, , and is working on electronics for an SSI-built satellite payload.
  • Paige Brown
    • Stanford freshman majoring in Chemical Engineering
    • The mechanical engineering lead on the ValBal project, and also helps manage flight control logistics.
    • Outside of SSI, she works in an environmental engineering lab on phosphate pollution remediation in storm water through chemical absorption.
  • ValBal
    • A novel, low cost high-altitude balloon system that achieves multi-day flight using inexpensive latex balloons by automatically venting lifting gas and dispensing ballast to maintain altitude.
    • Latex balloons typically cost little more than a hundred dollars, but in normal use fly for only a couple hours, rising until reduced atmospheric pressure causes the balloon to stretch beyond its limits.
    • The system, known as ValBal, can fly multi-kilogram payloads for multiple days for approximately $1000, offering a 10-100x improvement in cost and superior altitude control when compared with other scientific balloon systems.
  • Project has been featured on Hack-a-day for the longest flight duration of a latex balloon.
  • Worthwhile Links

Figure 1: Sasha Maldonado
Figure 1: Sasha Maldonado
Figure 2: Paige Brown
Figure 2: Paige Brown
Figure 3: SSI-48 Launch Group
Figure 3: SSI-48 Launch Group
Figure 4: The ballast system for the ValBal project
Figure 5: Mission Patch for the upcoming launch of SSI-52

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!