Bemco, Cryostat Closing

Anne and the VCS Team Toronto (plus Don) spent yesterday conducting a Bemco (thermal/vacuum) test. This mainly involves waiting around while temperatures or pressures change very slowly. As such, I took occasional sanity breaks and visited everybody else. The cryo team had finished with the telescope inserts and was closing up the cryostat. This mainly involved installing the vapour cooled shields (VCS). These are shells within the cryostat cooled by helium boil-off and insulated with many layers of aluminized mylar (aka MLI: multi-layer insulation). […]

Half-wave Plates Finished

Sean poses Yesterday we started losing people, after reaching our peak population. With all the half-wave plates installed, Sean and John departed. Insert assembly also started wrapping up. And some of us set some equipment up in the Bemco chamer, for thermal/vacuum testing (round 2). Everything that flies must be tested to ensure it will survive. […]

Five Inserts, Sun Shields

Five telescopes! Yesterday was another busy one for the telescope insert assembly team. For the first time, five inserts were placed in the gondola! (Then most were removed as changes and rearrangements were necessary.) Team gondola assembled the sun shields while waiting for the thermal/vacuum test chamber to become available. Also lots of miscellaneous cable and cyro work that I missed while doing other things. […]

Back in Palestine

Insert inspection For my first full day in Palestine, I made a point of trying to photograph everybody at work. We’ve got a big group here for the next week or so. Actually, there are roughly three groups: those assembling telescope inserts, those assembling half-wave plates and their rotators, and those doing gondola or general jobs. There are, of course, ambiguously classifiable people. The first wave got here a week before, so I arrived to an unpacked (and already messy) lab, an assembled gondola, and telescope work well underway. […]