Too Much Excitement


Yesterday was a bit too exciting. To get things started Enzo had made delicious fresh bread. Then comes the part that’s "too" exciting: we continue the tradition of catastrophic power system failures in Texas by destroying our solar charge controller. Finally, we utilize some free space in the highbay by installing a "Team Building Information Facilitator" (aka foosball table). […]

Minnesota Hotdish, Outside, Solar Panel Mounts


Because she will be leaving us soon, Sue was convinced to prepare authentic Minnesota hotdish for us. I also have some pictures from wandering outside and, upon request, some more details of the new solar panel holders. […]

Helium Again, Text Update

Ghost Mark

Yesterday we filled with liquid helium, so should have a functioning instrument again on the weekend. In other news: Barth (who has yet to appear in a photograph) and Joseph sorted out some data downlink errors, Tyr was finishing the solar panel holders, Natalie and Brad debugged a misbehaving star camera, Greg was polishing his window shutter control, Tristan and Enzo invented a new method for dealing with data issues from the last flight, Elio babysat the cooling cryostat, Mark installed linux on his computer before he left Palestine, and Laura and I continued to upgrade the code—plus we made delicious vegan chili and cornbread, and probably people did a lot of things I’m not aware of, or can’t express in a single (though shockingly run-on) sentence. […]

Antennas, Shields, and Frames

Measure once, cut twice

Much of the activity yesterday was related to sun shields, antennas, and solar panel frames. CSBF finished cabling their antennas on top of hte sun shields, Joseph brought over the high-gain TDRSS antenna, and Tyr worked on the new solar array holders with the help of Brad. […]

Nitrogen Fill

Hard hats

Yesterday was a quiet day, and people were mostly busy on their computers (ie. not doing anything photo worthy). Continuing the record-speed cryostat turnaround, it was filled with liquid nitrogen. A few tour groups visited. […]

BLAST-Pol De-unification Day


Shortly following the unification of BLAST-Pol, some deunification was required. The rapidly warmed cryostat was unmounted and opened to search for the source of microphonics. The star cameras were remounted, and the inner frame rebalanced so that pointing can continue while the cryostat recools. […]

Noise Testing aka Singing to the Cryostat

Readout Electronics

Yesterday was a quiet day with many people spending much of the day looking at noise. Brad and Enzo arrived in the afternoon to join the excitement. Some of the detectors are too sensitive to vibrations (microphonics), and a noisy fan in the star camera exacerbated the problem. The end result is that the cryostat is being warmed up to diagnose (and fix!) the problem. The late night crew discovered that the detectors respond to music. […]

BLAST-Pol Unification Day

Receiver guts

On Friday the 13th, BLAST-Pol was more-or-less completely assembled, with the cryo and gondola halves mated. The SIP was installed in the morning, and the cryostat, receiver, DAS, and star cameras in the afternoon. […]

SIP Arrival

The SIP Cometh

Yesterday was a quiet day of waiting for the cryostat to cool, unpacking, and working on code. The most notable event was Joseph bringing the SIP over for testing. […]

Helium Filling and Toronto Shipment

Science happening

Yesterday the long-awaited shipment from Toronto arrived, with a leak-checker, solar panels, and other goodies. After leak-checking, the cryostat was filled with liquid helium. This took several transfers and until after midnight. Giles had to leave us early. Best wishes Giles. […]