Fits, Starts

We’ve had some hiccups this week in our preparation for flight, but we’re still making solid progress. The biggest question at the moment is the status of the rotor; it flew back to Berkeley on Thursday to see if it can be rated to our weight for this flight. Assuming we don’t have to drop weight, our short-term schedule will mostly be shaped by the timing of the rotor’s return to us.

There’s plenty to press ahead with in the interim, though. The flight computer is safely ensconced in the electronics bay, and Yvette routed its myriad cables into something resembling order–a feat I thought impossible! We also put the sides of the ebay in place–they help regulate the temperature of the electronics in flight. Daniel is also fitting the mylar solar shields which keep the detectors themselves out of direct sunlight. Some of the others have been attempting to diagnose and reduce the electronic noise in the system.

The fully harnessed, much neater ebay!

The fully harnessed, much neater ebay!

Daniel and Alfred install the mylar solar shields.

Daniel and Alfred install the mylar solar shields.

For my part, my attention is divided. There are still improvements and bug fixes needed in the flight code. Today I found a nasty little bug in our pointing routines that caused an exponentially growing number of processes to be spawned! Needless to say, that was harmful to the stability of the system. It was a simple fix, thankfully. I also worked on interfacing our computer with the CSBF command link. Finding trouble, McBride determined that two of our serial lines have bizarre a hardware failure…

On the whole, though, the system is rapidly improving in stability and readiness. With most of the detailed harnessing and mechanical work done, we’ve moved the gondola up on its cart. With this mobility comes the ability to start our efficiency calibrations, which I’ll discuss more in a future post.

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