Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 2: Shopping Adventure and Camera Testing

Hello again,

First, I have updated yesterday's post with pictures, so feel free to take a look. The second day at Esrange began with with a moment of classic jetlagged disorientation, forcing me to take a second to figure out where I was, what time it was and what I was suposed to be doing when I got up. Once I got my bearings, we met up for breakfast at the main building and I joined a group for a shopping adventure to Kiruna. We are expecting more than 18 people and visitors of our group at launch day, and while Esrange provides some meals, we needed a lot more supplies. On the way there, we took advantage of the beautiful weather to take some landscape pictures:

The shopping trip took us quite bit longer than we initally thought, as trying to please everyones taste while finding groceries in a foreign language proved to be more difficult than we realized. When we returned in the afternoon, Hannes, the project leader, was already busy testing some of MIRIAM's systems. Today, most of that focused on the camera module. Since there will be several camera systems on board, let me explain each of them and their function.

There is one camera in the instrument pod of balloon itself which will image the separtion from the sounding rocket and the atmospheric entry from the balloon's perspective. There are also two cameras on deplyable arms on the service module which will monitor the inflation of the balloon and ejection of balloon/instrument pod from the service module. There is a third set of cameras which will stay behind on the sounding rocket interface to film the separation of the service module. Since the camera module, which includes a TV-camera and four digital recorders, remains on the rocket, it can be recovered after the launch to bevaluated later. As an interesting side-note, the digital recorders were salvaged from the previous "REGINA" sounding rocket experiment (which tested the ejection of the balloon without inflation). While the digital video recorders were initially considered "nice to have" rather than an essential feature, the team is still trying hard to make them work for us once again by troubleshooting software issues and rewiring some connections. The camera module's control computer, "CamCon" and the instrument pod control computer, "PodCon," communicate which each other through an IR system after separation. The camera systems are explained in the pictures below.

Camera Systems of the Service Module and the
instrument pod.

The camera module which remains on the rocket.

This is it for now, as I have to get ready for dinner. Lastly, just one more picture of the Esrange main building (where I am sitting right now).

The Esrange main building.

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