Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Night! And SIP Installation!

Unlike most normal people, I get really excited whenever election season comes around. In preparation for the results coming in, I drew a couple of maps of the United States that I could use to fill in as the results came in.
For most of the morning, Dana, Frank, Sean, Garry and Drew worked at installing the SIP (Support Instrument Package) on the Super-TIGER gondola underneath the modules. This system interfaces with the antenna system and flight computers so that data gets sent down (via multiple different data links) and commands can get sent up to the instrument during flight. Since we already had the SIP underneath the gondola from the other day, installing it was a matter of climbing into very cramped quarters underneath the instrument, lifting the SIP up with lifting jacks and screwing it to the mounts that were prepared.
Richard and Drew spent most of the afternoon testing the various commands that can be sent from the ground here at LDB to the SIP, making sure that the links all worked. Frank, Sean and Dana also continued to work on the blue foam insulation layer.
Meanwhile, results were starting to pour in. As each state was called, I marked it off on my handmade map. NBC and ABC were nice enough to call the presidential race just as I was walking out of the door to the bus. After dinner, I was able to catch the end of Governor Romney's speech and then all of President Obama's. It was especially nice to be on McMurdo time, where the speeches ended around 8pm, as opposed to St. Louis time, where things would have ended around 1am.

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