Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31st launch attempt -- live-blogging

0115 hours local time:
We convened at the high bay at about 0030 h for the final pre-launch prep. Will and Amber ran a quick scan test and we've started closing up the access panels and getting ready to roll out. Mark and Bill from CSBF came by to tell us that there are a few more showers in the area and they're going to watch the situation. Right now we're getting ready to push the gondola back towards the door and hook the gondola up to Big Bill to lift out. If we get the go-ahead from the weather people, we'll, uh, go ahead.

0145h local:
I just went up with Mark from CSBF to get the gondola hooked up to Big Bill for roll-out. We're standing by pending good news on the weather.

0252h local:
We are outside the building and the baffles are opened and the braces installed. We are basically ready to roll out to the launch pad.

0304h local:
Mirror cover is off. CSBF is attaching ballast hoppers and crush pads.

0331h local:
Crush pads and ballast hoppers are on. The CSBF electronics crew is finalizing the routing of their cables and antennas. They've already updated the GPS tracking webpage for us!

0400h local:
The weather guys have told us there's a slight possibility of light showers in the area, so we've covered up some sensitive things and we're going to wait and see what happens.

0405h local:
Just found out that Jerry is posting video clips in near-real time to YouTube:

0430h local:
Weather is looking good. Still waiting for official word.

0454h local:
They've driven out the balloon vehicle and have launched a pilot balloon ("pi ball") that's used to gauge the wind speeds. This is a good sign.

0505h local:
Rolling out to the pad!

0557h local:
Mechanical work on gondola done. Sun has risen. They're laying out the flight train now. Looking good! We're going through our pre-flight checklist.

0626h local:
Pre-flight checklist done -- we're hands-off the experiment now. The balloon is still in its crate; they're waiting for the low-level (~1000ft above ground level) winds to stabilize.

0700h local:
Launch scrubbed. The low-level winds ended up lining up fine, but by that time the surface winds had picked up and it was a no-go. Maybe tomorrow.