Archive for July 20th, 2011

“Fasten Your Seatbelts!” -Antonio

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Hey All!

So after being bombarded with a number of storms and unfavorable currents, Challenger 1 has finally caught a break.

Yesterday afternoon, Antonio (ULPGC) and Ben (TWR) proposed options for a new way point if we felt changing would be advantageous.  I looked into what the two proposed options were and we had the choice of moving our way point to the east and try and catch an eddy in that direction, or to continue along our path.

Antonio's SSH and Currents figure for 7/18 with the two arrows showing our options

The team at Rutgers then decided that we wanted to keep the most recent way point and ride the eddy south instead of making strictly easterly movement by moving the way point.  We proposed our thoughts to Antonio and Ben who agreed with us and we continued with the current way point.  By making this decision, Challenger 1 continued on its path and was rocketed south, hitting 1.25 km/hr and covering over 33km in just under 1 day.

This is excellent news, as we have been reminded of how close we will be cutting it battery wise as we move our way to the Canaries.  After nearly a month at sea, Challenger 1 has covered 15% of the distance needed to reach the Canaries (~4000km), however we need to begin saving more battery power to guarantee we have enough juice to reach our destination.  As we continue on our general south-west direction it seems like keeping the Azores as an option for a pit stop may be a good idea as a possible place to rebattery and brush off the biological growth that will undoubtedly slow us down.

But as for now, we continue on our path to the south, but as we continue jumping eddy to eddy, we will discuss where we want to fly and if we will swing west to the Azores.

On another note, we are just being relieved of  the influence of the 7th storm since deployment.  This one had much less of an effect on the currents than we have seen in the past and so did not disrupt our flying too much compared to the gyring force of the eddies.

Nilsen & Oliver