11:00 PM: Less than 12 hours after the previous attempt got called off, we are heading back to LDB to try again…
12:10 AM: We’re rolling out, and Brent and I remembered to start the playlist! The Boss is about to pick us up.
12:45 AM: We just heard from CSBF that the winds are looking pretty good. We should be heading to the flight line soon. Though that’s great news about the winds, I think we’re all a little afraid to get our hopes up again…
1:45 AM: We’re heading to the flight line! CSBF claims they are “cautiously optimistic”. The winds are staying fairly consistent, so they’ve decided which way to lay out the balloon. Hopefully the wind direction doesn’t change too much.
2:00 AM: Each science group gets to use one of the mules during their balloon launch, so that we can easily get out to the launch pad and back. Brent, Carolyn and I went to go pick it up and park it right next to the weather port.
2:10 AM: The helium trucks are heading out to the launch pad. Now it’s just the balloon that needs to get picked up.
3:20 AM: Winds are looking too high, again.
4:00 AM: The low level winds look perfect, but the surface winds keep oscillating between being too high and being fine. The balloon got taken out of the weather port and is heading towards the launch pad. This doesn’t mean it will get taken out of the box. A current idea is to wait until the surface winds go down again, and then immediately start inflating, hoping that they stick to the pattern of being down for about an hour and a half. This sounds pretty risky, so CSBF hasn’t decided yet if that’s what we’ll be doing.
5:40 AM: We’re still waiting for the surface winds to die down.
8:40 AM: They’ve taken the balloon out of the box! This means they’re being very serious about the launch. However, as we learned during launch attempt 2, it doesn’t necessarily mean the launch will happen.
9:10 AM: They’re starting inflation! More updates to come later, video here: http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/antarctica/ice.htm
10:20 AM: And we’ve launched!
One of the Spider guys took this pretty sweet video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT6tnEPUQts. The balloon goes in front of the sun, which looks awesome!!
12:18 PM: COSI has launched and the ascent is looking good!!! Pictures of the launch are pending, for now, here are some pictures captured by the CSBF cameras on the gondola during and after launch:
1:15 PM: COSI is officially at float altitude. We’ll be spending the next couple of days using the line-of-sight telemetry link to monitor the instrument. All looks pretty good so far!