Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 34, 4/28/09 -- Cryostat meets Doc Ock

Last night, after the installation of the cryostat, the gondola was handed over to Will, Joy, and Daniel for more ACS/scan tests. At some point in the very early morning, it seems that our elevation drive system malfunctioned and overheated. We're still investigating the cause of this, but we have both a spare motor and actuator

After starting the installation of electronics crates yesterday, that work continued today. For a while, everything was on, but Ilan found a short in one of the bolometer power crates so that had to come off for debugging. Fran├žois basically spent the entire day on the gondola getting detector cables in place and getting our RF shielding 'dryer hose' buttoned up. Now the cryostat looks a little bit like Doc Ock from Spiderman.

After I dealt with a whole bunch of administrative stuff in the morning and then having our weekly telecon, Shaul and I worked on mirror mount alignment. On the first attempt, we were able to get the mount to within 0.050" or so of its nominal position -- not bad for trying to align two things that are roughly 50" apart, but not actually good enough for what we need (less than 0.020". The two mirrors are roughly 90" apart, and need to be aligned to the same tolerance!) . After puzzling over this for a few hours, we couldn't come up with a good reason for why the alignment procedure didn't work, so we're probably just going to try again tomorrow.

The weather here turned windy and rainy so CREST wasn't able to launch today. However, the weather the next couple of days is supposed to be better, so maybe they'll launch Thursday? We were informed that the high-altitude-wind 'turnaround' will reach New Mexico in about 2 weeks, after which there will be a 1-2 week period of relatively low-speed high-altitude winds. This corresponds well with our planned flight readiness date.

Also, now I can officially say I've been here over a month (for any month of the year!). We've made a ton of progress, but there's still a lot left to do and we're going into over-overtime mode to get everything done. As if we weren't getting enough sleep...


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