Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 1, 03/30/11 -- All Along the Water Tower

Our goal for today was modest: unpack our equipment and set up the high bay so we could work effectively. Unfortunately for us, we were initially thwarted by some logistical issues. We had initially chosen to use the east high bay in the Palestine dual high bay building mainly for one reason: We can look out the door and see the water tower located at the CSBF site. We had been planning to mount a source on the water tower shining down toward the high bay and use it for mapping the spatial response of the telescope.

Until I got an email from one of the CSBF guys saying, effectively, "Yeah, putting stuff on the water tower is going to be difficult." It turns out that someone already has a source on the water tower: Verizon Wireless. Their 500-some-watt transmitter on top of the tower would need to be shut off in order to have someone go up there. Plus, CSBF hasn't had anyone up in the tower since the new safety regulations were initiated. Oh, and the wasps. Yeah, wasps.

What this meant for us is that we were dead in the water. If we couldn't put stuff on the water tower, we'd have to figure out some way to mount the source atop a different building that is more visible from a different high bay. Meaning that if we just started unpacking and setting up, there was a possibility we'd have to move everything over to the other bay and do it all again.

So...we waited. Explored a little bit. Played badminton. Eventually I was able to talk with the site manager, and he told me they would figure out a way to get our source on the water tower. Hallelujah! Now, at 3PM we could finally start unpacking!

We made pretty quick work of it, actually. By the time we left the high bay, we had everything we needed in the next few weeks unpacked, the computers partially set up, the work spaces defined, the sub-Kelvin fridge electronics checked, and the cryostat de-crated and set on its cart. Tomorrow we'll begin doing real "science" work in earnest, with Jeff and I working on wiring fixes/improvements and Kyle to start putting the instrument back together.
Pictures from today:

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