Well, we're basically done here.
We ended up not getting another recovery flight out to the payload, which means the cryostat and gondola are going to be spending a cold, dark winter out on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The surface conditions were pretty marginal for landing the first time, and the Kenn Borek Air crew was not comfortable trying to land a Basler there again without having a ski-way prepared by a Twin Otter crew with a grooming team.
With that, we packed up the rest of our material, including the things we recovered, into our shipping containers for the slow sea transport back to the USA. Chappy has been occupied over the past days making copies of our flight data for redundancy and so both UMN and Columbia will have copies.
Aside from that, we've just been livin' la vida Antarctica. There's not much for us to do, actually. We saw the icebreaker come in and clear a path for the resupply ships to come in, and today the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer was moored at the ice pier.
We are scheduled to leave in just two days, on February 11th, and we just received word that we are assigned to a C-17! This will be the first C-17 of the year, having been significantly delayed due to the poor condition of the ice runway. The C-17 flight will be much shorter and significantly more comfortable than the LC-130s that others have had to fly in recently.