Saturday, December 29, 2012

BARREL Status update #3

BARREL Status Report #3
December 29, 2012

Halley VI:  Payload 1B was assembled into flight configuration
(handles and upper solar panel mounts attached, cables all routed and
taped down). We were waiting for the sun to come out all day so we
could take the payload outside and test it with the solar panels, but
it stayed cloudy.  So, in the meantime, we completed bench testing of
Payload 1D and assembled the solar panel mounts.  We also load tested
all the terminate batteries, completed leak testing of the helium
inflation system, and did some ground station testing with UC Santa
Cruz. With Warren working on that end, we were able to successfully
test four ground station computers which each of four ground station

We also had our first fire alarm at the station, and wouldn't you know
it - my boots and jacket were on the other end of the building.
Luckily, it was a false alarm! My boots are now right across the hall
- I don't particularly want to walk out in the snow in socks.

SANAE IV:  I only got an update from the SANAE team this morning so
don't have a full report for the day. They tested their helium
inflation system. They also gave an overview of the system to 5 of the
SANSA students and 3 of the previous wintering team members. They were
also load testing terminate batteries and starting to check out their
first payload. We are still neck and neck!

A comment about these status reports: because we have really slow
internet and are quite busy, these status reports are serving multiple
groups of people simultaneously, including BARREL team members.
Therefore, they may include more detail than you want!  I apologize in
advance, but we are doing the best we can to communicate with limited

Weather outlook: Tuesday, Jan. 1 is still looking good at Halley VI as
far as winds go. If it is as calm as predicted, we will attempt our
first launch. Stay tuned - the forecast models will get better as we
get closer to Tuesday.


 BARREL cargo being offloaded from the RRS Ernest Shackleton

 Cargo being transported to Halley VI about 40km away
(and a 3.5 hour trip!)

BARREL cargo being lifted onto the station at Halley VI

Iridium antennas being installed on the roof of Halley VI