Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 53, 5/17/09 -- NCT launched!

The big news today is that NCT launched this morning! While their flight forecast was only a little better than what they had yesterday, they decided to go ahead -- and it's a good thing they did, because it's turning out to be a great flight! Even now, 18 hours after launch, they're still at float and it looks like they have plenty of room to keep going.

Today I worked on the last piece of baffling for the top of the cryostat, Jeff worked on installing a heater on the half-wave-plate drive motor, and the ACS crew tried to debug some faulty gyro readings. The detector crew has made good progress on getting the algorithms working so we'll be in good shape for the flight. Ilan cycled our sub-Kelvin refrigerators so we can do more detector/noise tests tomorrow.

We took the evening off and had dinner at the so-called "lake house", where Hannes, Fran├žois, Ilan, and Dan are staying. We had a nice relaxing dinner, and some of us went into the lake. A few of us, myself included, went swimming at about midnight and were treated to both cold water as well as an amazing night sky.

All of my pictures today are of the NCT launch and flight:

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