Ted's Boomerang 2002 Antarctic Web Log

Frequently Asked Questions

Current Mission Status: We Have Landed!

  • View all of the tracks of balloons launched so far this season at the N.S.B.F. website here. This is real-time data from the onboard GPS receivers.
  • If you have a computer that can view proprietary Micro$oft Windoze media formats (I don't), you can view a webcam broadcast of Willie Field here.
  • Here is some Antarctic news and weather from our newspaper, the Antarctic Sun.

ATIC Launch Cancelled

December 26, 2002 21:15 (NZ)

The launch attempt of the ATIC experiment (the other scientific balloon payload down here) was cancelled this morning due to weather. So this leaves us in the same situation: still waiting for good weather. On another note, there are four of us (Silvia, Francesco, Carrie, and me) who could potentially have to go on recovery after the flight. In order to do this, we have to attend "snow school", which is a two day course where they teach you how to build snow shelters and generally survive in the cold. Francesco and Silvia have already done this, and tomorrow Carrie and I have to go to the class. Apparently the experience is a bit like car camping in the snow... Hopefully I'll have some good pictures to post in a couple days when I get back.

ATIC Launch Window

December 25, 2002 15:39 (NZ)

Today we learned that there may be a brief period of good weather tomorrow morning, and the NSBF folks will try to launch the other science payload (ATIC). Originally their plan was to launch a third pathfinder, but it seems from the satellite images that the upper level winds are as stable as they are going to get. If the launch succeeds tomorrow, we could launch in as few as a couple days! Unfortunately a storm is heading our way, so if they don't get the other balloon up tomorrow it may be a while before the next opportunity...

Boomerang Christmas

December 24, 2002 23:50 (NZ)

Today was a fun-filled day of holiday cheer. We started off by drawing names for a "secret santa" gift giveaway. The requirement was that we had to make gifts out of random items around the lab. This evening, Armando, Silvia, and Andrea whipped up a homemade Italian dinner, complete with fresh made noodles! Fortunately we had plenty of good wine and champagne from the station store to accompany it. After dinner, we read an account of the experiences of the 1997 Boomerang launch in Texas (the first launch of the telescope). This was an amazing story of the events that took place during the summer of 1997, during the test flight of the telescope (all payloads that are launched in Antarctica must first be launched on an overnight test flight in Texas). Overall it has been a relaxing day, and a good break from pre-launch craziness.

The Doldrums

December 23, 2002 15:02 (NZ)

Today has been uneventful. The taping and solar shielding on the telescope is done. Another storm hit this morning with some small snow accumulation. This is a challenging time psychologically; the holiday season reminds us all that we are far from home, and the bad weather means we won't be launching any time soon... In the best case scenario we could launch at the end of the week, but that is unlikely. In order to raise our spirits, we are cooking a Christmas dinner tomorrow out here at Willy Field.

Stormy Weather

December 22, 2002 08:16 (NZ)

After the storm 2 days ago, the road to Willy Field has been undriveable by the vans we normally use. In order to get back and forth we have been using the Deltas (large vehicles with really low surface pressure tires). We are still waiting for good weather so that we can take our telescope outside for the compatibility test. Unfortunately there is another storm moving in this afternoon. I've been spending my time tweaking the flight schedule, and others have been putting the finishing touches on the solar shielding. We are basically in a "holding pattern" until the weather clears up. Maybe we'll get some good weather as a Christmas present :-)

Condition One

December 20, 2002 09:56 (NZ)

Many areas this morning are at condition one, so all travel is restricted and we can't get out to Willy Field. Barth, Carrie, and Francesco spent the night out there last night. Hopefully the weather will clear up and we can go out this afternoon. I've spent the morning in the very nice computer lounge area of the science building in town. Most of the stuff I'm working on now is computer work anyway, so this is not a major setback...

Another Storm

December 19, 2002 19:48 (NZ)

The weather today has deteriorated as a storm moves in from the southwest. Hopefully we'll be able to take the telescope out again after the storm blows through... In the mean time, I'm making some slight changes to the "schedule file" that the telescope uses to determine where it should look. The team has also been doing some final tests in the barn by scanning the telescope back and forth and checking that our detectors behave as they should.

Compatibility Test Aborted

December 18, 2002 20:54 (NZ)

This evening we took the telescope out for the compatibility test. This test is designed to simulate the configuration of the telescope and all the support equipment as it will be at launch time. Once we got our telescope outside and hanging from the launch vehicle, the wind started to pick up. This wind caught our sun shields like sails, and tossed and turned the telescope around. We eventually had to cancel the test, rather than risk damaging the telescope. We will have to attempt this again another day...


December 18, 2002 14:57 (NZ)

The weather today is good, and we've scheduled our "compatibility" test tonight. It's a bit of a pain to do this test in the evening, because we had to get satellite time on short notice, and some people at the balloon facility in Texas will have to stay up late. Hopefully we can get this out of the way, and be officially "launch ready"...

Waiting Game

December 17, 2002 16:10 (NZ)

The weather the past couple of days has been less than ideal, and we have not been able to take the gondola outside for its final check out. Aside from small tweaking, the telescope is ready to fly. Although we drive past Scott Base (the New Zealand base) every day on the way to work, today was the first time I checked it out. It is much smaller and cozier than McMurdo, and of course the Kiwis are always friendly. For now, the pace here has slowed a little, giving us a chance to regain some sanity. We are all eager to launch this thing and get home to our families and friends. I'm sure that the first nice weather day the pace will pick up again...

First Page Previous Page Next Page