Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 59, 5/23/09 -- The rebirth of the rotator

We were planning on doing another flight sim today, but instead the entire crew was focused on figuring out the funny business with our rotator/pivot. It seems that the problems we were seeing yesterday got worse overnight -- the pivot wouldn't even make the gondola move even if we hit it with all the current we have available. After doing some tests, we determined there was too much friction in the bearings, so we brought the rotator down.

After it was disassembled, we (meaning Michele, Seth, and Britt) found bearings clogged with...all sorts of crap. Some of the rollers (they're tapered roller bearings, for whatever that's worth) were clogged with the accumulated schmutz of 2 months in the high bay. After cleaning and regreasing the bearings, the pivot was reassembled, remounted, and once again the gondola spins freely! As the kids say, "w00t!".

On the software front, it seems that we are now in a stable software state, free of (excessive) crashing and ready for flight. SWEET.

While all the hard work was being done on the rotator, a few of us (myself, Jeff, Dan, Ilan, and Kate, joined by Joy and Daniel later) went to Clovis for some R&R. We had dinner at a Thai (plus Chinese and Japanese!) restaurant that was suprisingly good and then headed to Kelley's, an Irish pub in the heart of Clovis that Dan mentioned was a popular hangout for Air Force guys from nearby Cannon AFB. Good times were had by all.

Today, I took more pictures, because apparently Daniel's mom complained that I wasn't taking enough pictures. So these ones are for you, Daniel's mom.

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