Thursday, December 6, 2012

Warm Weather and Waiting: December 6, 2012

Thursday, we rode out to LDB in some of the first above-freezing (~35F/2C) weather we've had since arriving.

At 11am, we had our weather briefing and status update from CSBF. At that point, it sounded like there was a good chance that we'd be launching Friday morning, and we made plans to be picked up at the dorm around 2am, with the optimal flight time being about 10am McMurdo time. This lasted about two hours. After lunch, we found out that that time wouldn't be suitable for CSBF to launch us, so we would come in at our regular time on Friday.

In the afternoon, I ran through the pre-flight checklist with Richard. Someone has run through this checklist at least once a day since we declared flight-ready, and it's helped us practice and make sure that we'll be able to do everything we need to get done on launch day. This checkout involves sending commands to the computer over our line-of-sight (LOS) antennas, and looking at the data that gets set down. We verify that we're able to turn on and control the high voltages on the instrument, that LEDs inside each detector flash (and therefore tell us that our photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) are still functioning), and that the computer is able to go back to its previous state in the event of an unexpected reboot.

EBEX outside for testing

In the afternoon, EBEX was outside and doing some tests that involved a cherry picker. I'm glad that Super-TIGER just has to turn on and wait for particles to fall in in order to calibrate, so we can stay inside where it's warm.

It was still warm after dinner, so JohnE, Richard, and I walked over to Scott Base. It's a nice 40-minute walk over the hill with some great scenery. We ride over the hill on the bus each day, so it's familiar, but it was nice to slow down and get a good look. I also finally figured out where Pegasus Field, the airport on the permanent ice shelf is. I'd known vaguely, but hadn't taken the time to actually try and see it across the frozen ice.

It doesn't look like Friday will be launch day, but if there's one thing that's constant here it's that you never know.

No comments:

Post a Comment