Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Setting up the collaborations with the Van Allen Probe teams

Things are all coming together. We've shipped the payloads, we have the tickets bought for the teams heading to the ice, we have our ground stations all set up and waiting for that first call. We've gotten the mustered to take to the ice (if you want condiments for your sandwiches in Antarctica make sure to bring your own). Okay we're keeping busy with a bunch of other things still left to prepare for, but the nerves and excitement are starting to kick in as we plan the collaborations with the Van Allen Probe teams.

Today was that next real step, at least for me, for this campaign. I've been busy helping out in the lab when needed, processing and studying data and events from the last campaign, helping to ship our payloads and equipment, writing papers and giving talks, and every once in awhile talking with our colleagues about the coming season and how we may do things differently from last year. But today I started joining the EFW SOC telecoms to start officially talking about and planning this years campaign coordinations. It now feels real, the 2014 Campaign is here and starting. We are no longer preparing for it; it is here.

Today's SOC meeting was mostly spent catching up on what our plans are for BARREL. When will we get to the ice, when is the earliest possible launch date, when is the likely first launch date, how long will the campaign likely run. Questions to frame the time period where we'll be in close communications. Then the important questions, where will we have our breakfast meeting at the American Geophysical Meeting (AGU) in San Francisco and will there be bacon. Okay so that last part I added (everything is better with bacon). At AGU, when we can all sit down face to face with some coffee in hand, we plan to meet with all the teams and people who will be making these quick decisions. Hopefully we'll figure out when best to ask the satellite teams to go into burst mode, how long will it take to get that data down, and how much data can we collect before we start writing over something interesting.

The excitement is starting and it's hitting home that we're really not that far away from launching the first payload of the second BARREL campaign. That first launch is no longer months away but weeks from now.  We are so thankful for the wonderful help and support we have gotten from the different Van Allen teams as well as from our other colleagues . It will be a blast to be working so closely with them again this year, I only hope they feel the same way :).