Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 37, 5/1/09 -- a fully operational battle station.

In short: We have a telescope!

For the second day in a row, the CREST launch attempt was scrubbed due to high mid-altitude winds. The weather's going to be pretty bad for the next few days, so probably no more launch attempts for a while.

After fighting a bit with the mirror alignment procedure, Shaul, Britt, and I managed to get the primary mirror mount aligned. In parallel, Dan and Michele worked on getting the artificial planet mounted.

Jeff worked for most of the day on getting foam cut for the baffles. I took a little trip to Clovis to get some supplies for the balance-weight-reduction mechanism (i.e. big-ass springs). I also went to Lowe's for some other supplies for the baffles and brought pizza back for the lab crew.

Once I got back, Britt, Michele and I, with the help of Joy operating the crane, mounted the secondary mirror. We had to fight with it a bit in order to get it on -- a redesign of the mirror mount produced some interference with the secondary mirror's stiffening ribs, meaning I got to take an angle grinder to the backside of our $100,000 secondary mirror. Twice. No biggie.

We already knew from our Nevis experience that putting the primary mirror on is actually much easier, so I took a little break and when I got back, the mirror was on! Dan and Michele then started the process of aligning the artificial planet beam with the EBEX telescope beam, guided by a "laser". This was nearly 11PM, and I went home.

Unfortunately I don't have all of my pictures from today because I left the DSLR's memory card and card reader in the lab (usually I copy the files over before coming home). You'll just have to make do until tomorrow with the few I took with my little Canon ELPH:

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