We keep getting delayed due to shipping, which is pretty frustrating. First, we had to wait to get the card cages sent from Berkeley. As soon as we got those last week, we thought there was nothing preventing us from getting the cryostat on the gondola. But that was before we noticed that our stycast (thermal epoxy) had dried out. We need the stycast to attach heaters and temperature sensors to the cryostat, the electronics boxes, and the gondola.
Brent ordered some more stycast from a place in Europe that claimed they could ship it in 2-3 days. But someone else from UC Berkeley also ordered something from this same company, so the company got confused and sent the stycast to Berkeley. Once we figured out what happened, the company re-sent us the stycast, this time to Wanaka, but it probably won’t arrive until Tuesday.
While we wait, we’ve been working on a lot of the other aspects of the instrument. Alex added some connectors to the flight computer (unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the flight computer, which looks pretty cool when it’s opened up). Abby, Jimmy, and Alan got all the card cages on the gondola.
While the cryostat is on the bench, Carolyn turned on all the detectors and started taking some calibration data. All the detectors look good!
I’ve been working on setting up the pump system. To better control the cryostat temperature in flight, we are going to pump fluid (kind of like antifreeze) through the cryocooler and then through a huge copper plate. The fluid will take the heat from the cryocooler and radiate it away when the pump is running.
We’ve also been working on the shields. The shields block gamma rays from the bottom and sides of the instrument so that we only see gamma rays from space.
Brent has been working on an alert system for flight. Because we’re hoping for a 100 day flight, we don’t want to be monitoring 24/7 during the entire flight. The alert system will text and email us if something goes wrong with the instrument.
McBride worked on building a box to hold what we call the ‘ethernet switch switch’: a switch to turn on and off the ethernet switch.
We’ve also been having fun! (Today is Sunday funday after all.) Last night we went out for dinner and a couple beers after. Today we didn’t do anything as a huge group, but a lot of us hung out by various lakes. As I write this post, Brent and Carolyn are BBQ-ing what looks like a delicious dinner for everyone.