Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 69, 6/2/09 -- I'm running out of titles

Well, we didn't launch again. CSBF then told us that there would be no launch opportunity today, Wednesday morning (yeah, I'm posting this a little late), so Jeff and I ended up opening up the experiment and relocating a heater from the half-wave-plate drive motor mount to the rotary vacuum feedthrough on the cryostat -- there were concerns that the feedthrough would get too cold if we drooped down too low overnight, as it's only rated to -50C and at ~80,000 feet the temperature gets to about -55C. Jeff spent about 5 hours hunched over uncomfortably confined in the gondola inner frame, squeezed between the cryostat, the window champagne bucket baffle, and a gyro box working on the heaters while I fetched tools, offered advice, did some soldering, and helped out wherever I could. In the end, we tested the heaters and found that the feedthrough ran about 20C above ambient temperature, even in the high-pressure environment at ground level, and the motor mount got to 5C above ambient -- more than enough to survive an overnight flight at low altitudes.

Once we finished, we headed over to the ranch house where the rest of the crew had already started to party. Sam and Jerry have now gone home, and Joy and Daniel have moved into the ranch house in their place. If there's no launch attempt tomorrow, some of us are thinking of driving out to Santa Fe to see what it's all about.

I didn't take any pictures of the launch attempt in the morning because we didn't even roll away from the high bay, and everything pretty much looks the same as the previous attempts.

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