Carpe Diem

We expected today that the centerline crane would be in use by another group.  Finding it was not, we were able to take our gondola off the cart and move ahead  with some important preparations.  Jane and Alan worked heroically all day finalizing the routing and wrapping of the signal cables in the electronics bay.  This wrapping–with wide teflon plumber’s tape (from McMaster Carr, of course)–helps protect the cables and reduces electronic noise.  There’s more to do tomorrow, but it’s an important step forward.

The newly wrapped cryostat connections.

Jane and Alan sort out the harnessing.

Meanwhile, Steve worked on wiring up our battery boxes.  Alfred and Ming-Zhe continued their work on our test solar panels.  I made some modifications to the flight code in the morning; in the afternoon I cleaned off some of the road grit (and mosquitoes!) that had accumulated on the cryostat on the long road trip from Sydney.

Tomorrow will involve a high-stakes operation–installing the heavy BGO (bismuth germanate) shield pieces.  The large base sections weigh nearly a hundred pounds each, they have large delicate photomultiplier tubes jutting out at odd angles–and we have to slide them in through the cradle structure with less than half an inch of clearance from our extremely delicate (and virtually unrepairable) high voltage connectors.  It’s the riskiest element left in our preparations other than flight itself.  Seems like a good night to turn in early and get some rest!

2 responses to “Carpe Diem

  1. Looking great, guys. Love the use of teflon plumbers tape! How does it reduce electronic noise, though? Just by preventing microphonics?

    • Hey Asad, good to hear from you! The teflon itself doesn’t reduce noise, obviously, but it helps us keep the ribbon cables lying straight and flat, which does. It keeps the cables from splitting and fraying, too.

      On the detector side, we’ve wrapped metal mesh shielding under the teflon; that gives some noise reduction.