Launch Part III: Launch

The final installment in my agonizingly prolonged series of posts about launch day. This picks up with the beginning of inflation, and ends when everyone goes inside to start doing real work. Or, at least everyone goes inside and agonizes over altitude data until we can start doing real work.

The most disappointing part about […]

Launch Part II: Until Inflation

The second phase of my launch pictures starts with rollout of all the equipment to the pad. Mark, Matt and Elio also head out because they need to physically interact with the gondola. Eventually they radio for me with the “urgent” job of taking some official pre-launch picutres. In my capacity of official photographer, I […]

Launch Part I: Preparation

For the first phase of launch photos, I have preparation. This is from when we arrive in the morning (actually people like Matt start preparation before that by sending commands from their dorm rooms) to when we roll out for the launch pad. For people wanting to check on loved ones, this will be the […]

Launch: Panoramas

Because I recently learned how to use a panorama stitching tool (you probably noticed), I felt like taking several panoramas on launch day—especially when it became clear that we would actually launch. But because I am now really busy and (at least for now) sleep deprived, and because the interestingness of photographs might drop off, […]


At a little after 17:00 local time, BLAST-Pol launched! I have almost one thousand photos to sort through, and they will appear once I have a chance to do so.

As a bonus, in the launch date pool I had predicted today at 16:00. I am thus the winner of a “fabulous prize”.

Castle Rock, Take Two

Yesterday, having scrubbed in advance, we had Christmas off. So, with Laura, Nick, Tristan, and Matt, I went to Castle Rock again. Unlike the first time, we decided to climb the rock, and we brought trays from the galley for sledding down the big hill onto the permanent ice. The expedition also served as […]

Christmas in McMurdo

Two days ago, on Christmas Eve, the BLAST team showed up to work and halfheartedly ran through the pre-flight checklist. The weather was poor, and we were pretty certain we weren’t even going to go outside for pickup. We didn’t. Early in the morning, we officially scrubbed for the day, and for the next day […]

Not a Launch (Take One)

Yesterday we came in to a weather forecast of “Legitimate Marginal”. This means there could very well be a launch opportunity, but the conditions probably wouldn’t get perfect—just acceptable. In the spectrum of marginality, this is a fairly positive forecast.

So, we showed up in the morning, went through our pre-flight checklist up until being […]

Not a Launch Day

Today is not a launch day. With CREAM having gone off yesterday, logistical restrictions prevented another launch today—independent of all other concerns. The weather has decided not to taunt us with unusable good weather. This is a small relief.

Tomorrow, on the other hand, has a “legitimately marginal” forecast. This means it’s possible we can […]

CREAM Launched!

Yesterday CREAM finally launched. They were ready early in the campaign, and had been waiting a long time—first for the circumpolar winds to set up, and then for good launch weather. This means that BLAST is up next!