Palestine, TX, Days 23-27

Greetings friends. The past few days were quite eventful. If every blog post were titled like an episode of Friends (how I wish we started it this way), I would name it: “The One with The Mardi Gras Parade On A Saturday,  Superbowl Sunday, And Unbearable Thermal Vacuum Wait”.

On the “Life” front, we all got to enjoy our first almost full weekend. The town of Palestine had its annual Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday, and we didn’t want to miss on some fun-loving, local cheer.


My mental image of Texas, aligned with reality


Despite the ominous clouds and relative cold, people came en masse to enjoy having beads and candy thrown at them. Spotted amidst the colorful carnival: two high school marching bands, big men wearing a fez driving tiny cars, a dog painted green, young girls riding horses.


Sunday was the Superbowl, and while I usually enjoy to emphasize my contrarian ways on this day, this one was kinda special, considering all of the UDel folks (namely, 75% of our team), are lifelong Eagles fan, Philadelphia being the closest big city over. A few of us made our way to a bar (did you know you can still smoke indoors in bars in TX?), and Brian’s enthusiasm fast spread to all of us. The Eagles won, which inspired Paul to show a dash of creativity in the latest version of our data acquisition software.

20180206_082602 (1)

Spot The Eagles fan


Back to work on Monday, great things awaited us: we finally moved the instrument into the half-shell, and it’s always a fun day when you get to play with CSBF power tools. After one last pressure leak test of the in-flight setup (it passed), we closed off the shell. At last, we were ready for the thermal vac. test.


Moving the instrument, slowly, slowly, slowly



Early Tuesday morning, the rigging team came, forked our little egg of an instrument, and brought it over to the Bemco, an environmental chamber and space simulator. Our detector will go in there to be tested to a simulated vacuum and a variation of temperature going from (- 40C to +30C, we have heaters inside to maintain room temperature ), but all of CSBF telemetry and power supplies too. We attached the belly band Matt and I had  made to the shell (an insulating foam to keep the temperature from dropping in flight).

The thermal vac is supposed to take 8 hours at least, and we might do two runs to avoid subjecting our trackers to too high temperatures (one run for CSBF, one for us). It’s Wednesday Feb. 7th this morning, and we are about to start, time to get off the computer and start freaking out too.


AESOP-Lite in the Bemco chamber. Sleep well my angel


Categories: Palestine, Texas

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