Out to Launch (#4)

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.


22 responses to “Out to Launch (#4)

  1. Steven Boggs

    Everyone on your toes, I’ve got a good feeling about today!

  2. Launch should be in about…??

  3. Daniel Perez-Becker

    All fingers crossed for the launch! It seems that they will deploy any minute now. Even on the webcam it is really exciting to watch. Good luck with the winds, instrument, rotor, and landing!

  4. Steven Boggs

    Fingers crossed for a perfect launch!

  5. Nicolas Barriere

    Awesome ! No one works here, we are all stuck in front of our computer watching you guys! 😉
    Good luck for the flight, the launch is just the beginning…

  6. Have been checking in on the webcam — looking good! Go NCT!

  7. Holy crap, I just watched on the webcam! That was crazy! DETAILS!

  8. Peter von Ballmoos

    What the hell happened ? All looked perfect (on webcam A) until the flight train was ~ vertical … what’s the status ?

  9. High low level winds?
    Hope you can turn it around to launch again w/backup balloon and chute.
    Good Luck
    jill and marty

  10. Holy crap. I’m sorry guys 😦

  11. Peter von Ballmoos

    Most importantly nobody got hurt – now let’s hope that NCT has’nt been too much damaged.
    courage !

  12. Augh! I’m so sorry! Terry will be crying in his beer tonight…

  13. Baaaahhhhh ;….-(

    My deepest condolences… all the hard work…

    Anyway, you all did a great, great job putting NCT together over the last years! And there should be more than enough data from the NCT calibrations as well as measurements of the last balloon flight to successfully finish your thesis.

    So don’t worry too much, look at the positive side: you might even finish your thesis earlier, since you do not need to understand any new measurements!

    A very sad Andreas from the Bavarian forest

  14. I am so sorry for you, guys! I really hope that you are able to recover as much as possible!

  15. We’re so glad everyone is ok. And so sad for you guys.

  16. There are no words…

    Love and tears,

  17. It’s shocking….Can’t believe what happened. I’m deeply sorry guys.

  18. Daniel Perez Becker

    What a tragedy. All the hard work… I feel very sorry for everyone. Thankfully nobody was hurt. I hope NCT will be able to recover.

  19. I’m so very grateful that everyone is ok, and horrified that so much of your hard work has ended up this way. Hang in there.

    (We were joking that the green truck looks like something Hulk smashed.)

  20. What a disaster! I’m so sorry for all of you hardworking NCT’s. I hope you can salvage the essential parts from the instrument, and eventually, NCT will rise again! The balloon facility should really compensate you for this obvious mishandling (or technical failure?) of the launch crane. They should never have released the payload with the balloon pulling sideways!

  21. grateful no one was hurt… so much hard work…. sorry to see it end that way…..

  22. So sorry, Eric… glad everyone is OK, but what a terrible thing.