Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Launch Day Take 5

So ANITA has been fully assembled for a while now, we declared flight ready almost 10 days ago and since then we've been waiting for the weather. It's not all that much fun to wait for the weather. It's particularly not fun on the days where the weather is almost good enough and we get out of bed early to catch the bus to Williams Field (it started with the bus leaving at 6:30am for the first launch attempt, then we went to 5:30 and then a couple of tries at 4:30, and now tomorrow's attempt will start with the bus leaving at 3:00am) only for the launch to be scrubbed 6 or 10 hours later. But you have to be the ready and get the payload out to the launch pad, just in case the weather (wind in particular) calms down enough for a launch. With luck tomorrow will be the day we get the thing in the air, but I thought that we were going to launch yesterday before the winds picked up, so who knows.

Still at least the food out at the LDB (Long Duration Balloon) galley is good. Matt the chef's cooking is generally the highlight of each day.

3am, I'm not looking forward to it.

Unless we launch.

Friday, December 01, 2006

End of a hectic month, start of a hectic day

So, it's been pretty busy down here on the Ice. In the last month ANITA has gone from a collection of of wooden crates recently off-loaded from a cargo ship, to a fully constructed balloon payload ready for it's hang test tomorrow (for those who aren't balloonatics — Jim's word, not mine — the hang test is the test we do before flight to ensure that our instrument plays nice with the NASA equipment that controls the balloon and through which all our communication during flight goes. If we pass the test then we can declare flight ready and it should just be a matter of waiting for the wind pattern to settle around the South Pole so that we can launch the balloon.

Hopefully what this means is that most of my work should now be more or less done, and I'll get a chance to relax (some more). So far the only day off I've had so far was for the Ohio State - Michigan football game (which Ohio State won), for which we had to start drinking at 9 am so that we could get into the spirit of the game.