Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 61, 5/25/09 -- When it rains, it pours.

This has been a taxing week for the EBEX crew. 2 of our 6 gyros failed; that manufacturer was not at all sypathetic to our plight and we ended up reconfiguring our system to use 4 gyros instead of 6. Then we had our issues with the pivot, which required rebuilding the bearing assembly. Last night the cherry picker broke, and the fix was only semi-usable. And remember when our GPS unit broke about 2 weeks ago? This morning, CSBF took us outside to calibrate our repaired GPS unit...and it's somehow broken again!

To add insult to injury, the wind shifted direction and picked up speed while we were outside, so we ended up facing directly into the wind with not-very-well braced baffle ears (they were folded in to minimize their cross section, which eliminates the bracing that stabilizes them). The zip ties that were holding the ears in place failed, and each ear in turn swung backwards 180 degrees -- keep in mind that they're only designed to fold out 45 degrees. The resulting carnage was an impressively twisted bit of baffle support structure and smashed foam.

The rest of the day was devoted to fixing the damage caused by the wind in the morning, basically putting us a day behind where we wanted to be. I was so dejected I didn't take any pictures of the damage, but Dan got a few pictures after everything was mostly fixed.

On the bright side, NASA is loaning us one of their GPS units for the flight, and it looks like we might be getting a new cherry picker tomorrow. On the downside, the flight weather looks pretty bad for the next few days at least, and our flight computer keeps crashing every few hours.


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