Relocating, Wrapping Up

Following the exhausting days leading up to Spider’s launch, the fun had just begun! Early in the flight, while we still had a line of sight to Spider, above the horizon, we had a high bandwidth radio link, which we needed to make the most of. The first day or so was spent turning all of Spider’s systems to work well from the stratosphere. Which most of them did, especially the flight critical ones!

Once Spider floats past the horizon, the experiment mostly runs itself. And we get very little information to check that things are healthy: just one 255 byte “text message” every 15 minutes. Radio links mess up Spider’s detectors, so we use as little as possible. Still, we monitor Spider constantly, and helping to staff one of those shifts was my job. For this, we relocated to Crary Lab, the main science building in McMurdo. Others returned to LDB to pack up all our stuff.

The big Christmas dinner was during this time, and a laptop was brought to dutifully continue to monitor Spider during the feast. We even did some commanding, a couple sent by our wonderful LDB chef, Dan.

To make room in McMurdo, we eventually had to leave to monitor the rest of the flight from Christchurch. Which we did until Spider ran out of liquid helium shortly after the relocation. Then we got a chance to relax some more, while waiting for Spider’s odd fight path to eventually take it somewhere good enough to land. Spider is currently on the ground, and the recovery team is gearing up to retrieve our eagerly awaited data!

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