Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monitoring Begins: December 10 and 11, 2012

After we finished the first night of monitoring, we rode Ivan the Terra Bus back into town. I then spent most of Monday morning and early afternoon asleep, catching up from the lack of sleep surrounding launch day.

After dinner on Monday, we got a walk-around tour of Crary Lab. This tour is required of anyone that has 24-hour access to the building, and since we will be monitoring from there every night, that includes us. Basically, it went over safety procedures and everything that needs to be done in the event of an emergency.

Then, we went down to our monitoring office for the first time. It's nothing too exciting--an office that can fit 4 or 5 people with desks along the walls and a few chairs. At 7pm, the McMurdo monitoring shift started. Kenichi stayed with us for a little bit, but since he had relieved us at Willy Field in the morning he left shortly after monitoring started. Richard also left early, planning to head out to Willy Field Tuesday morning, so Bob, JohnE, and I completed the rest of the monitoring shift. We're nominally done at 2am McMurdo time, but Monday night/Tuesday morning we had a "quick" conference call with our Goddard collaborators that meant that we didn't leave until around 2:30am, by which point it was time for bed.

Tuesday was much the same--I slept in, had lunch, and then relaxed in the afternoon before dinner and going on shift at 7pm. When we're monitoring, we go through a series of graphs and other charts on a website Kenichi developed that give us information about how the instrument is working. If needed, we can make adjustments and send commands to the instrument, but we try to avoid that whenever possible. Tuesday night/Wednesday morning we had another after-shift conference call with our collaborators in the US and then I got to bed around 3am.

So far, though, our flight path looks great!

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