Spider Disassembly

Spider in pieces On Wednesday morning Spider was a fully functional balloon gondola. By Thursday night it was a collection of pieces packed into a couple crates, and a series of tubes. Jamil, Juan, Natalie, and I wroked furiously in between to effect the transition. By next week, these pieces will hopefully have found their way to Princeton, where they will be integrated with the flight cryostat and detector systems (which will replace the shipping container being used as inner frame). […]

Pivot Climb

The pivot needs to come down to have an inclinometer installed. On Spider, the pivot is especially high (the 28 foot ladder is barely long enough). Extra complication is supplied by the extra-heavy suspension cables. Natalie designates herself the climber while Barth, Juan, Jamil, and I help/watch/photograph/heckle/etc. […]

Sun Shields

On Friday we did some much needed lab cleaning in the highbay. Then, with undergrads (aka “minions”, in the nicest sense of the word) John and Little-/Young-/Undergrad-/Other-Steve around we decided to free up more space by assembling the sun shields and “storing” them on the gondola. A few hours and hundreds of bolts later, the carbon-fibery awesomeness of the gondola was successfully augmented. […]

Exploded Gondola, New Inner Frame

Starting about a month ago, the gondola was almost completely disassembled. Parts needed final modifications to match the flight-like configuration. After the reassembly, The gondola was also given a new, temporary, and spectacular inner frame. […]

Office Windows

I spent a morning looking at the office windows, and the different things their sills have accumulated. […]

Long Overdue Gondola Update

A long overdue update on the Spider gondola. It has a new computer box, the new Pinhole Sun Sensor (PSS) array, chicken wire to protect from the reaction wheel, the rotating star cameras mounted, and a cart with really big casters. And more importantly, it scans! […]


Juan loves gluing carbon fiber tubes so much, that he makes sure he gets to keep on doing it. Yesterday he, Jamil, and Steve (our last remaining, though soon-to-depart, summer undergrad) started gluing what will eventually become Spider’s sun shields.

This time they’re doing one end of the first series of tubes. The other end […]

Floaty Orangeness

A large bit of orangeness floatied its way around the highbay today. Taking the form of a blimp leftover from Boomerang, Mathew (a summer student) inflated it to test its lifting capacity. Such balloons are used to fly calibration sources so they can be 1km away and still 20° above the horizon. […]

Hanging Spider, etc

While Juan has made a couple posts about the AzEl Gadget (pointed mount for a test cryostat), I’ve been neglecting Spider and the highbay for a long while now. Then yesterday, when we finally suspended Spider for a functioning pivot, I got a good excuse to stop my neglect. […]

Awesome Boxâ„¢

Last Friday I finally got all the parts for my new “Awesome Box” for housing a single BLASTBus2 motherboard. I think it’s pretty cute with its mini-backplane, and it’s all crammed into a box that couldn’t be much smaller. So I got out my camera, and today I’m dusting off my blogging hat. Enjoy! […]