First day in Wanaka

Alan, Alex, Brent, McBride and I arrived in Wanaka yesterday afternoon. This was basically the first thing we saw:

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We had lunch, got settled in, and met up with Carolyn. She got here a week before us to get New Zealand radioactive source training and meet the shipping container. Alan, Alex, Brent, Carolyn and I are staying in a huge house together, while McBride has his own place. Our house has some great views of the surrounding lake and mountains, as well as an outdoor grill, a hot tub, and a swimming pool (though who needs that when you’ve got a lake next door?). There’s also a cat!

Today we checked out our work space for the first time. Carolyn had already unloaded the entire shipping container with the help of CSBF. It’s pretty great that our building is already built and we’re able to unpack and get set up. (Remember the weather port struggles in Antarctica?)

The Wanaka airport seems like a pretty nice place to work. We can see mountains in any direction we look. There’s a cafe right across the street that has good sandwiches, which is a convenient lunch spot. There’s a brewery a few minutes away which we want to check out at lunch tomorrow. We’re also right next door to a helicopter launch pad, so hopefully we’ll get to go for a ride sometime. Throughout the day we heard helicopters or small planes taking off or landing.

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Everyone at the airport cafe for lunch

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Walking back to our building after lunch

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The airport

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View from our building’s back door

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We are right next to helicopters!

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Another airport view

We spent a lot of today getting set up. The first major thing we have to do is get everything on the gondola. That will probably take us at least a week, because we have to pump down and cool the cryostat. Then we want to turn on all the detectors to make sure they’re working. Once the instrument is built up, we’ll be testing everything and doing calibrations. Eventually we’ll have our hang test, where we make sure that our instruments work well with all of CSBF’s systems in order to confirm that we’re ready for flight. After that comes the launch, but that won’t be until April 1 at the earliest.

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Carolyn working on the empty gondola

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McBride decided that he needed 5 computer screens this time

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