Second Launch Attempt

We’re aiming for a launch around 7AM – 8AM this morning. I’ll try to update here periodically!

12:00 AM: We all met at McMurdo to head out to LDB (except for McBride, who has spent the past two nights on the cot at LDB for some reason). We were supposed to sleep all afternoon, but I’m not sure how well any of us did…thankfully, everyone seems pretty awake thanks to a combination of adrenaline and coffee!

2:30 AM: We’ve rolled out! The gondola is now hanging from the launch vehicle, and we’re doing our telemetry checks.

The riggers rolling the gondola out. Brent made sure to play the song Roll Out, on our playlist just for this occasion!

The riggers rolling the gondola out. Brent made sure to play the song Roll Out, on our playlist just for this occasion!

Derek getting ready to hook the gondola up to the Boss

Derek getting ready to hook the gondola up to the Boss (the launch vehicle)

Attaching the gondola to the Boss

Attaching the gondola to the Boss

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Carolyn and Brent waiting with the back panel while the riggers finish

Carolyn and Brent waiting with the back panel while the riggers finish

Everyone working on or looking at software: the GSE, the distributor, or the GRB monitor program

Me, Brent, McBride and Alex working on software: the GSE, the distributor, or the GRB monitor program

3:30 AM: ANITA planned to send up a little balloon, called HICAL, to help calibrate their instrument. Because the balloon and instrument are small, they can launch it without the Boss. We went out to see them launch, but unfortunately there was a mishap with the balloon: it leaked! Right after getting launched, it fell back down. The CSBF guys had to wrestle it to the ground.

The ANITA team watching the HICAL launch

The ANITA team watching the HICAL launch

A close-up of the HICAL balloon

A close-up of the HICAL balloon

The payload had just dropped to the ground

The payload had just dropped to the ground

Two CSBF guys chasing down the payload

Two CSBF guys chasing down the payload

The riggers trying to wrestle the balloon back down

The riggers trying to wrestle the balloon back down

Hopefully their calibration instrument is okay! They have a backup balloon, so they’ll be able to try again.

Meanwhile, we’re still testing telemetry. Chris is testing out the parachute and balloon terminate commands.

COSI hanging on the Boss

COSI hanging on the Boss

There’s a live stream here: http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/antarctica/ice.htm. Click on Operations Video to see it. That being said, it’s probably not that interesting until the actual launch…

5:30 AM: We are on the flight line! The Boss is on the launch pad, and the balloon is heading there now.

The riggers getting the balloon out of the weatherport

The riggers getting the balloon out of the weatherport

The super pressure balloon is giant and took up almost our entire weather port! The normal balloons are much smaller than this one.

The super pressure balloon is giant and took up almost our entire weather port. The normal balloons are much smaller than this one.

COSI on the flight line!

COSI on the flight line!

Brent was really excited about the prospect of driving around in the cart

Brent was really excited about the prospect of driving around in the cart

They're bringing out the spool. The spool is to hold the balloon down while it's inflating.

They’re bringing out the spool. The spool is to hold the balloon down while it’s inflating.

5:45 AM: Apparently the winds are currently a little too high for the super pressure balloon. We’re proceeding for now, but it sounds like the winds will have to come down for this launch to happen.

7:45 PM: The launch is on! CSBF is laying out the balloon. Inflation is starting imminently!

The parachute, the Boss, and COSI

The parachute and the Boss

CSBF hooking up the parachute

CSBF hooking up the parachute

LDB from the launch pad. It looks so far away!

LDB from the launch pad. It looks so far away!

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COSI hanging

Carolyn and I headed over to check out the balloon. It was really cool to see it get unpacked and laid out.

Starting to take the balloon out of the box

Starting to take the balloon out of the box

The balloon wrapped around the spool

The balloon wrapped around the spool

Laying out the balloon

Laying out the balloon

Laying out the balloon some more

Laying out the balloon some more

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The balloon laid out almost all the way

The balloon laid out almost all the way

The top of the balloon

The top of the balloon

Carolyn and I getting super excited!

Carolyn and I getting super excited!

8:50 AM: And it got too windy. Something went wrong with the tow balloon and they had to let it go. I’m not really sure what the plan is going forward.

11:40 AM: After a nap and some time to process, here’s a final update for today. CSBF put the balloon back in the box, and we will use the super pressure balloon for our next launch attempt. The weather probably isn’t good enough for a launch attempt tomorrow. I’m not sure when the next attempt will be.

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One Response to Second Launch Attempt

  1. Jerry Olson says:

    I was watching it on the NASA live video stream and it was so exiting to see it on the launch vehicle. Soo close. I’ll be in the mountains for the next few days away from a computer so can you wait until next Wed? Ya right!

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