Earlier today, at 10:27 NZDT, just shortly before the summer solstice, Spider launched! We’ve been frantically dealing with getting everything working while we have the fast line-of-sight radio link. More to come later. […]

Fully Operational

Penguin me It’s been a bit of a crazy time here. We received notice around 10 days ago that our campaign would be shorter than we expected, so we scrambled to be ready as soon as possible. A flurry of work followed turning Spider from mostly working to ready to fly. As I type this, the balloon is inflating to (I really really hope) launch Spider, on our fourth attempt. […]

Got it covered

Sunbathers With our detectors at cryogenic operating temperatures (0.3 K), our team of detector experts have been tuning the readout to make them as clean and well behaved as possible. We’ve been monitoring and testing detector health, and doing some pre-flight calibration tests. And fixing bugs in the fight code, testing satellite communications, and churning through our list of little things to build or fix. At the same time, there’s a whole bunch of arts and crafts going on, primarily to turn our sun shields from the empty frame they’ve always been previously into something that can actually block the sun, and keep our instruments from overheating. Eventually all of Spider will be covered, except from the front side where it looks out at the dark sky. We might have a launch opportunity next week (it’s too early to say, but near enough to start trying). So we’re going to be pushing hard, and cutting some corners (only the cuttable ones, of course) to be ready in time. Wish us luck! […]

Getting Cooler

The "prom photo" group photo With the arrival of our delayed November shipment of liquid helium, we were finally able to start cooling Spider down to her science operating temperatures. This process takes several days and some longs shifts. In parallel, work continues on setting up the gondola, pointing systems, ad sun shields. More and more Spider is starting to resemble an awesome functional payload. […]