Mega Launch Day Mega Post

Launch Launch day mega post! I start with some documentation of BLAST’s final flight configuration (which while a little boring is part of the reason people indulge my taking photos of everything). Then we go through our pre-launch preparations. Later, I’m allowed out to the flightline to document the assembly and inflation process there—much closer than I’d been before. Finally there is the launch itself, which went off cleanly. A big thanks to the CSBF crew for all their hard work. […]

Get BLAST!ed

I had been working on a special Christmas image for Tristan, after he’d reminded me to DFTBA. However, the launch delayed things. I hope this will keep people satisfied a little longer while I sort through my huge mass of launch-day photos, while also trying to babysit BLAST at float. […]


Launch! BLAST is now floating and spinning its way up into the stratosphere. It should be noted that a launch on the 26th is exactly what Santa promised when we asked him. […]

Fridge, Christmas

Laura caroling As part of the Christmas days off, the foodies opened McMurdo’s giant fridge/freezer building for a tour. They have a standing offer of free 5lb bags of alfredo sauce; apparently they have far too much. I also have a small selection of photos of the Christmas festivities. Hopefully Tristan can supplement these. We’re currently in the middle of launch operations. Soon we will be waiting for the winds to come down, and if they do we might have ourselves a launch! […]

Snowmobile Training, etc

BLAST stickers With the gondola pretty much finished, we’ve switched to running tests and practicing for flight. A couple days ago, this also meant getting our official snowmobile training, for trips out to the launch pad. A little joyriding made everybody a little more joyful. […]

BLAST Scanning gif

I’ve not been doing much photography lately, but I have been playing with combining images into animations. So in lieu of other content, I present an animated gif of BLAST scanning. […]

Signs, Scanning, Little Jobs

More cable taping Over the last couple days the highbay has been fairly quiet. Laura and Tristan have been busy running test scans and generally preparing for the flight, while the rest of us tackle the ever-shrinkng list of little jobs left to do. A job in both categories is testing and finalizing the extreme elevation limits. Because of the slow times, I also took a photographic tour of the signs around the highbay. […]

Castle Rock

Stopping to Pose I On Sunday, because we’d been making good progress, we took a day off. We got to sleep in and enjoy Sunday brunch. In the afternoon, Tyr, Natalie, and I set off for Castle Rock. This is the highest nearby point, and along the longest recreational hike that isn’t out to LDB and back. Beneath Castle Rock is also a large hill where the glacier flows off land into the ice shelf. Here’s the best place around for downhill skiing, or, in a pinch, sledding on a galley tray. […]

Shiny, EBEX

Three Marks A couple days ago we were busy with some arts and crafts. Making foam boxes, and adding bits and pieces of mylar around. EBEX was also outside for their compatibility tests. […]


The Boss picks us up Yesterday we successfully conducted out pre-flight compatibility test! This means attaching everything that will fly: all of CSBF’s little sensors, and the flight train, parachute, terminate package, etc. Then we hang off The Boss and drive a little away from the highbay so that radio signals are cleaner. While it hangs there for a few hours, we pretend it’s flying and make sure that everything works as expected. And, it turns out, things worked as expected. Now, after a little more arts and crafts and touching up, we will be ready to fly. However, EBEX will fly before us, and we will not launch before the 20th. So, we will have a while to practice and test before launch. […]