Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Integration, Day 3

Monday we spent all day trying to re-factor the payload. (ALL. DAY.)

Tuesday we fixed things, scraped it together, and got integrated onto the gondola with only a couple hours left in the window.

Today we watched them load the gondola into the vacuum chamber (the 'Bemco') with a forklift. They then pumped it down, chilled it with liquid nitrogen, and pumped down again. Once we pumped below 100 millibar (a tenth of usual sea level atmospheric pressure) our 15 minute pump timer started ticking. 14 minutes and 30 seconds went by with good data coming down the pipe.

Then we died.

Current working theory is that we blew a fuse when the pump turned on. We're preparing some mitigation strategies but we don't get our hands back on the hardware for at least 2 more hours. Then, even when we fix the issue, we're gonna have to start all over again with pre-integration. We get one more shot at this on Friday. If we fail that then we can still fly, but we'd have to do some kind of tests on our own to prove to them that things aren't going to fail horribly. This is undesirable for many reasons, one of which is that this involves a lot more work.

The team is running out for food and then we'll see where we stand. For now, enjoy some pretty plots.

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