False Alarm in Colorado

Everyone's heard about this, but I thought I'd mention the case that happened today when an experimental craft got away from a family in Colorado. Everyone thought that a six-year-old boy was inside the craft and feared the worst, though in the end he was found hiding in the attic at home! Read more-



What an amazing experience! The day was long and intense as we started at about 7 AM and gave the last ride at about 9 PM.
We had about one hundred participants that soared through the air, laughing, shouting, posing like superheroes, and
dancing through space. Many thank yous and lots of questions and conversations. Here are just two images....soon to be expended, but for the thesis i need now to write.



Its happening! We've been at it since early this morning. Everything is working
great, the winds have been low and managable, and everyone is having a great time.
Lots going on now....I have just a sec to get a few images up-



The time has come! As it looks now, Wednesday is the day. I will continue to monitor weather, which may change everything, but winds are expected to be calm, and it should be a beautiful day. I will post again tomorrow night for sure.

Anyone want to help me?

I am holding a meeting this afternoon, 4:00 in the Soundstage in Hasket Hall.
I will go over what I need help with and get some feedback from the group on a few things. Any help would be greatly appreciated- especially Tuesday night moving Helium tanks, and Wednesday manning the event.

give me a call for more info- 614 204 9274


Small Balloons

Here is a short video of the small balloons in the Gallery


Less than a Week

Next wednesday I am set to do this. I can't believe it is really happening. It is always weird to me to see time progress- I remember the first thoughts of this project
and my projection of what it might become, or how. It is always so different.
I can't wait to feel myself moving through space, and seeing the treetops from a different vantage point. I spoke with an agent of the FAA today, everything is in check as I thought. All aprovals have been granted and we're ready to go.!!!!!!!!!!

Forgot to mention the show last week. It went well! Lots of good feedback.
Here is a picture.....


Some links to check out


sixty hours...

Special thanks to Tim Elverston of Windfire Designs and Katy Lemle!



The past week has flown by. I remember the stages faintly, but it seems the only thing that's real is the final balloon.
Tim flew in last Wednesday, and we had many late nights sewing and cutting away. Before he arrived I was very
flustered at the first attempt to sew a short run of the Cuben. Then Katy and I layed out the material and
began marking and cutting, and I wondered if it would ever come out straight. It did! The balloon is complete, save a few seams
that need to be sealed, and some harness re-working. The picture above was taken inside the balloon.

So much has happened...I have been meeting lots of people at various departments on campus, getting all the necessary approvals for the balloon flight. So far its happening on the South Oval of OSU's Campus, one of three days: May 24, 25, 26.
The weather will determine which one it is depending on wind. I will use this page and my website to keep updates on the happening, down to the wire the day of flight!

Still working on some sort of lottery system to limit the people, as there will only be a max of 40 possibilities in one day-
Time Lapse of the Construction to come!

check www.acastronovo.com for more pics+



I just remembered my dream from this morning. I was flying over the trees of Eastern Canada, somewhere north of Montreal
in the mountains. I had some kind of engines in my hand that propelled me. I cant remember exactly, but i think they were like pieces of flat plastic, like fly swatters. They pulled me through the air and I soared up and down over lush green pines and crunchy yellow-brown tundra ground. I looked to the side and saw deer and a bear grazing, the silent engines let me go un-noticed. I was so happy to be there, it was the most beautiful thing. Low in the valleys all the streams converged to form deep
blue pools, elongated lakes with emerald edges around the perimiter. Suddenly I came upon a large building sort of like a big,
modern university building with light, tan, concrete exterior and no windows. It was unavoidable and I was sort of pulled toward it. There was a strange vortex current there, and I really struggled to pull myself up and out of its draft. It was very disorienting
and I was spinning and changing directions a lot. Finally I was able to escape and flew up and over the building and back into
the trees.


any help out there?

Here is the form itself with texture applied...
but still no template-


first flight

Here is a video link (testt) using youtube.com...
Lets see if it works,


still at it.....

Well its taking me much longer than I expected to get the form happening...
this is where I'm at in C4D, still unable to unwrap the object to form
my panel sections. The Small balloon has been flying for five days now, and still full of helium-
though a bit has leaked, not enough for it to drop. I'll try to upload video.


Design Matters

I have realized through testing that my leaks are all happening in the seams of the balloon.
My model, on which I am basing my panel templates, was made by hand and has imperfections
that are multiplied when the form is scaled up. Therefore, the little dips in the edges create
creases, bunching, and leaks. So, I am now developing the model in 3d in AutoCAD. Soon to come-
A small test balloon, that will autonomously roam a space, indoors, and will use a wireless camera
to give viewers the sensation of floating about.


Considering OPtions

I have run into some issues with the balloon construction- at this point I am questioning the feasability of the project. Roughly five months to the event as I'd planned it. The main problems are in the balloon structure and its ability to hold pressure. A small five-foot prototype was tested and proved that somewhere in the seaming pressure was leaking out. Also, the fabric, which is totally strong under tension, is not so strong under pressure. A slight bump into a sharp piece of wood
sliced a hole neatly into the surface. However, the tear did not run, it was contained
and the pressure only slowly drained out. So sharp objects are to be avoided. This shouldn't be an issue, but the final fabric might be one layer thicker than what I'm testing.



I have finally received the Cuben Fiber and can begin making a prtotype for testing.
I have made some paper models trying to figure out the panel construction of the
form I want. It is a sort of oblong, upside-down teardrop, and here you can see the
form's structure and the corresponding gore(shape) which the panels are cut from.
The first ballon is a small one, maybe 36" tall when done. I will make a few variations on this size and these balloons will autonomously float through the gallery space with remote cameras built in to give the sensation of flight.


The Point

Throughout my work as an artist, I have been exploring different methods
to affect the viewer. I am interested in inspiration, seeing the practice as an
inspiration to myself and the product as an inspiration for the viewer.
As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to fly. I've had lots of
dreams about flying, the most memorable being a sort of balloon encapsulation that
allowed me to float over the environment and explore the vertical space that
is usually un-reachable. Therefore, I have decided to create a set of helium balloons
that will lift participants, actually just negate gravity, so that with a slight kick off the
ground a person might float through space briefly. The event will generate a positive response,
an uplifting moment that will be memorable, and as a part of this memory I plan to
create a dialogue with each participant. The gift is flight, a moment of freedom, and exploration
of environment.


Materials Worklist

Many different
materials have been evaluated for strength, weight,
and porosity characteristics. Many different forms of ripstop nylon
were considered, although the weight and strength of these fabrics
became questionable before the testing phase of the material was
initiated. The ripstop seemed to strech if tugged on a diagonal bias,
and the coatings and impregnation of urethane and silicone didn't
have a tight enough structure to fully contain the helium. A wonderful
marvel of technology was found in Cuben Fiber. This stuff is super-light,
at .35 oz/yd it has a tear strength of 80 lbs/insq !!! It is formed from elongated strands of polyethylene- consider a six-pack ring. This is polyethylene, though it is loosely and randomly bunched into the structure and remains stretchable. If you took that material and stretch it out, it will form long thin strands of the polyethylene molecules connected end-to-end, and it is these molecular bonds that are the strength of the material. And it has the added bonus of a mylar layer laminated into the fabric (mylar is what is comonly used in helium balloons comercially available). Small samples have been received and tested using various seaming techniques and adhesives. Once i have more fabric I can build the test models which will serve as announcements and advertisements for the site and final event.


Helium was chosen for it's low density and safety as a practical gas
that will enable floatation for the body. There are many sources of helium, and
tanks can be obtained locally for $30 to $50 per unit(250 cuft).
The final projected volume is 4500 cuft, and should be able to lift 280 lbs.


Background Catch-Up-

So a lot has gone on since August, it was the morning of the 7th, after we'd stayed awake all night by the fire out back. The previous day's community festival at Milo bound my positivity and hopes for affect there- bands, kids playing, lots of neihbors showed up. And into the night we danced, until we found a lonely sprinkler and Gabriel enticed us to break out of our shells. At the top of the building the balloons floated high above, one large group of blue ones I'd placed earlier that day with Shawn. I felt their upward tug, and wondered how many pounds that force might lift. Later on I asked about floating up with a large balloon on my back, or maybe Gabriel suggested it, and we decided that it was entirely practical, and that we'd begin research tomorrow.
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