Cold Load, Shooting Things: (Very) Light Weapon Edition

Anti-aircraft Bill Some folks have been working on the cold load cryostat. This is a black plate that’s made cold so that to Spider it looks about the same as the sky. It’s useful for detector calibration. And today, because we were busy waiting for the cryostat to cool again, we had another day off. Barth got a cheap radio-controlled airplane, and we obtained some BB guns. (The locals might laugh at our piddly weapons, but we had fun anyway. Maybe eventually we’ll ask them for access to some gunnier guns) […]

Crane Training, Odd Jobs

Ziggy prepares for safety Cryo operations have hit a bit of a hiccup. Team cryo has been patiently but frantically dealing with an ice plug (nitrogen ice, or maybe water/oil/crud). Meanwhile, lots of little jobs are happening to make Spider more flight-like. And yesterday, we all got our NASA crane safety training. […]

Liquid Helium, Computer Mods

Sunset over the launchpad Yesterday, Team Cryo started filling Theo with liquid helium. This is where the operation is most “cryogenically interesting”, which is a euphemism for mysterious and scary. Things that you don’t fully understand (especially now with several more telescopes installed), but can potentially cause a lot of damage. At least they happen slowly, so that you have lots of time to get tired. I’ve mostly been working on modifications to the flight computer box, with the help of Jamil and Ed. Due to somewhat high priority, I didn’t take as much time for photography as usual. […]

Go Karts

Don and Jon Yesterday we took another day off. After having brunch and relaxing for a while, we made our way to Palestine Junction Family Fun Park. To have some family fun (park). Activities included go karting, batting cages, and mini golf (which I won). Due to some quirk of my mood, I took photos only during go karting. Enjoy! […]

Outdoor Panorama, Liquid Nitrogen

BBQ area Last week we had a fine looking afternoon, so I decided to finally take a panorama outside the highbay. This should give a pretty good idea what our home away from home is like. (Look at larger versions, it’s got high resolution.) At the end of the week, we also filled Theo with liquid nitrogen for the first time. […]

Preparing for Cryogens

Vacuum parts Over the previous couple days, we worked to make Theo externally complete. The goal was to be ready to transfer the first cryogens. This included preparing vacuum/fill plumbing, preapring the cryogenic thermometer readout (aka housekeeping), and generally attaching things to Theo. Theo also had to be tipped to a lower elevation, which makes her seem a lot more like a telescope. […]

All Dog Extravaganza

This happened surprisingly often Last week a stray dog was found wandering CSBF. Since then Anne and Johanna have been taking care of her, and she seems a lot happier. By popular demand, I present a post entirely of dog. She doesn’t have an agreed upon name. She responds “equally well” to Dog, Doug, Tortilla, Crazy Eyes, Spider Dog, Blondie/The Dog With No Name. […]

Miscellaneous, Come and Take It

Johanna paints inside a test baffle The last couple days have been a little quiet, with Theo slowly pumping out (and a couple purges with dry nitrogen). People have been doing odd jobs, we’ve had some good food, and an important flag arrived. […]

Cleaned Highbay, Panorama, Baffles

Clean highbay panorama After the big Theo closing (for those that don’t know, our cryostat is named Theodosia), and a day off, it was a good time to clean and reconfigure the lab. Afterwards was a good time to take a panorama of what’s happening in here. Theo got one further addition: the telescope baffles. And they all fit. […]

Cryostat Closed. On Schedule!

Whack-a-grad-student When the campaign started, June 15 was set as the target for having the cryostat closed and the vacuum pump turned on. Somehow, by 11pm this dream was realized. Before that, Bill played whack-a-grad-student. And the suspension cables were made shiny. (Yesterday was a day off, during which I took no photos.) […]