Palestine, TX, Days 28-31

Hi all, it’s Sarah from the hangar (not to be confused with Lucy from accounting, or Jenny from the block).

I left you last time right at the start of our thermal vacuum test, on Thursday. Good news is, everything went as planned. To summarize: we placed our instrument in its shell, in the Bemco chamber, alongside all the telemetry equipment and battery boxes. At all times, we are monitoring pressure and temperature inside the shell, outside it, inside the belly band (a sort of belt made of pink panther insulating Fiberglas, that sits between the top and bottom shell). Every 10 minutes, we write down what these values are. Even more information is also being recorded by our data acquisition software MIPFlit.


AESOP-Lite thermal vac summary plots, courtesy of Pierre-Simon

After a little while, we pump the air out, and the pressure reaches below 2 mmHg in the chamber, we then back fill it with nitrogen and start cooling down to -40C for 2 hours (we won’t be seeing such extreme temperature gradients in flight, thankfully). We stop cooling, vacuum again, fill it with Nitrogen, and heat up the chamber to +40C this time. After another couple of hours, we run one last vacuum cycle, fill it with air again, and call it quits.

A wise man once told me: “the best thing about a thermal vac. test is the anticipation” (the scope of my philosophical musings has been a tad limited lately).

That maxim turned out to be true, I’ve lived greatest thrills than recording numbers for hours. We took shifts and ate candy all day.


Pierre-Simon’s notions of equal Swedish fish pay seem to be off…

Today February 12th marks the one month of our presence in Palestine, and our time here is drawing to an end, as we get ready for our hang test.

Now that we passed that important step and with a week in change left, we are very close to our final integration compatibility test. The solar panels need to be tested with the instrument, and a few remaining cables will be made. And, then, we wait for a sunny (or at least non-rainy day), and we haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang. More later…

Because last post did not have any time lapses, I give you two!


Categories: Palestine, Texas

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