Monday, November 26, 2012

Attempt 1 at a Pre-Hang Test Test and Hodoscope Mockup: November 26, 2012

The plan for Monday was to get to work on our pre-hang test compatibility test. Essentially, the hang test is the last thing we have to do before we can declare ourselves ready for flight, and this pre-test was to double check that everything was going to go fine during the actual test. To do it, we were going to go out onto the deck of our payload building and run through our setup and commanding procedures, and verify that everything was working properly.

There is an area near the payload building where BLAST can be set down and do some of their calibration runs. To get there, BLAST had to be lifted out onto the deck, and then picked up by the launch vehicle (The Boss) and driven out to the "dance floor", where they would be set down. Super-TIGER would then be picked up by the crane in the building and brought out onto the deck. 

Monday BLAST made it on to the launch vehicle while Super-TIGER was rigged up to the crane and ready to lift when it was determined that the weather forecast had the winds too high to allow BLAST to stay outside safely. BLAST has some large aluminized mylar sun shields that do a great job keeping the sun out of their telescope, but these shields can also act as giant sails if a wind were to come up. Once we got everything set back up again, we set everything up and took some more calibration data.

One thing that we had been worried about on the Super-TIGER recovery was whether or not the scintillating fiber hodoscopes would fit inside the recovery plane (I'll have a post or posts up about the hodoscope, and the other detectors, and how the instrument works in the next few days). Essentially, we want to be able to get the entire hodoscope plane back in one piece, since making a new plane of fibers takes many months. Monday, Dana and Frank made a full-sized mockup of one layer out of blue foam. The two of them, along with JohnE, then headed over to the airfield to see if the mockup would be able to fit inside the plane. They returned with the good news that it seemed like things could fit. 

Monday night, most of the team went to a talk and screening of a documentary presented by Anne Del Vera, who works out at LDB and basically makes the entire LDB station run. In 1992-3, she was a member of the first all-woman team to ski all the way to the South Pole. The documentary went over that journey, and she was around to answer any questions that people had. It was a really amazing story and put the easy life we have in modern-day McMurdo in perspective. 

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