Full Fake Solar Panels

Front On June 13, 2017 we dressed bit in all of her fake solar panels to do some scan testing. Because bit needs to point so precisely, very small disturbances can totally upset the system. For this reason, even though we’re flying for a single night and don’t need solar power, BIT flies with fake solar panels to experience the same amount of wind and floppy parts as it will have with real solar panels. I took the opportunity of having BIT fully dressed to take a bunch of photos. […]

Taping and Testing

Night testing With BIT’s pre-launch compatibility test finished, we spent June 8-12 of last year taping up the outside for its final shiny/thermal treatment. We also spend nights testing the telescope, while there are stars to observe. […]

BETTII launch

BETTII The first experiment to launch last year (June 8, 2017) was BETTII (Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry). We took a break to go and watch. […]

Compatibilty (last year)

Hanging out It’s been almost a year since the disappointing summer/fall of not launching SuperBIT in 2017. I have recovered enough to finally post the photos. We’re also in the field with SuperBIT getting ready to launch again, and I don’t want to get lapped. Plus I’m being pestered/motivated to share these for documentation purposes. On June 8, 2017 We did our pre-flight compatibility test. This means rolling out the highbay as though we would launch and putting everything together. Then we test our system and the CSBF antennas and commanding, and we roll back inside. […]

Reassembly, Shinification.

Javier scacles BIT With upgrades to the experiment complete, it’s time to start putting everything back together. In addition to basic reassembly, it’s time to start giving the experiment its final thermal treatment. This means covering things with various combinations of foam and shiny aluminized mylar. And lots of tape. […]


The telescocpe and I On my return to BIT-land (after needing to spend a few days in Princeton) I find everything disassembled in preparation for upgrades: mainly to the rigidity of the mounting of the inner frame, the telescope inside the inner frame, and the optics box on the backside of the telescope. Plus installing some electronics like the new heater control box, fine guidance controller, and shiny new gyroscopes. […]

SuperBIT Test Flight 2017: The Beginning

Susan fits in the boat, which makes for more convenient alignmnet scoping I arrived in Palestine about a week later than the Toronto crew (professor: Barth, grad students: Javier, John, and Susan, undergrads: Bryce and Michael). They had unpacked and tested everything in the thermal vacuum chamber and were starting to set up. I forgot to pack my camera, but I snapped a few photos on my phone. Most were for technical purposes, but a few are (maybe) of interest to people other than me. […]

SuperBIT launch (last year)

I board the plane to head to the downrange telemetry station On the Eve of Canada Day 2016 (ie last year….these photos have been sitting unloved on my computer for a while), SuperBIT launched for its overnight test flight. Now that SuperBIT is approaching flight readiness for another flight, it’s about damn time I posted these. Like all launch days, it was full of frantic work, waiting, excitement, and dread. Then it launches and there is no longer anything you can do except send commands on a computer and hope everything works. There is a brief rest during ascent, in preparation for working all through the night once the a balloon reaches float altitude. […]


Launch!!!!!!! SuperBIT launched today! We’re very excited, and very stressed. Nothing is broken…yet. More to come later. […]

Attempted Launch, Part Deux

BIT and BIT Bill from above After a few days of launch cancelations early in the day, we made a serious attempt yesterday. It was the best day we’d had yet. And Big Bill, the launch vehicle from Fort Sumner, had been brought in for some tried and true reliability. However, after going through all the motions, and driving out to the launch pad, the winds didn’t die down enough. We had to cancel again. Today looks even better, and BIT is currently out on the pad. Fingers crossed. […]