Round 4. Choose your webcam: A B
1:50 am: Well, it’s extremely calm on the surface this morning–a nice change since yesterday. Hopefully the low-level winds are low as well? The full moon is shining brightly on this clear, chilly morning.
2:10 am: Looks like we’ll roll out today, at least.
2:30 am: Winds are lower than forecast, for a change. Sounds like we’ll be doing a final go/no-go near sunrise again.
2:35 am: Holding for a small repair on the CSBF SIP (the communications package).
2:50 am: Okay, about to roll out.
3:15 am: Button up is proceeding nicely. There’s a camera crew here from the ABC science program Catalyst, which is pretty cool.
3:30 am: Heading out to the flight line. Winds look a bit iffy at the moment, but what else is new?
5:15 am: In from the flight line–it’s cold out there! Our flight line checks were the smoothest yet, although there’s some weirdness with the clock on one cardcage we’re trying to sort out. The good news is that right now we’ve got winds low enough to launch. There’s a small air current that they want to drop a bit, so at the moment CSBF is aiming for an 8 am launch.
6:00 am: We’re waiting a final launch decision, but word is the winds are still acceptable.
6:10 am: Just got word that CSBF is laying the balloon out! Launch looks extremely likely. It’s only a sure thing once inflation starts, though.
6:50 am: Winds came up a little bit on the last pibal, but we’re go for launch.
6:55 am: Inflation is starting now–no turning back! Launch should be in about an hour. We’re heading out to the pad to watch–more updates, post-launch!
9:00 am: It’s hard to find words to describe what just happened. We had a complete launch failure and abort, and much of the gondola and its systems were destroyed. Thankfully no one was hurt. A full accounting will have to wait–for now we’re just trying to pick up the pieces.