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ATIC-2 Mission Images

Trying to fix a pressure vessel leak - December 15, 2002

Just prior to the hang test we discovered a small leak in the pressure vessel which, while not significantly affecting the results of the hang test, needed to be fixed prior to flight.  While efforts at tightening up joints, smoothing problems on the flanges and replacing both top and bottom bladders significantly reduced the leak rate, it has proved to be very difficult to fully eliminate.  Currently the leak has been reduced to less than 20 mbar of pressure per day and a second gas bottle has been added to the experiment.  With the extra gas and the low rate ATIC would still be able to fly for twice around the continent.
The ATIC Hang Test - December 1, 2002

The hang test is the full dress rehearsal for the ATIC payload launch.  The experiment is buttoned up, the photovoltaic arrays are installed, external power and other connections are removed and the payload is hung on the launch vehicle.   This process gives us and the NSBF a chance to make certain that all parts fit together properly and that all the electronics function as advertised.  Thoughout this test, even as the launch vehicle drove part of the way to the launch pad, we were in constant communication with ATIC and were able to verify that all was well with the experiment.  Following the test, ATIC was returned to the Weatherport to await launch day. 
Installing the Upper Structure - November 22, 2002

Once the three detector systems (silicon matrix, hodoscopes and calorimeter) were checked and readied for flight, the upper pressure vessel shell, upper structure and antenna boom were installed.  The next major step is to complete the "button up" process by installing the lower shell.  This may occur early next week.
Trip to Cape Evans - November 10, 2002

After a couple of weeks of solid work, the ATIC crew decided to take a day off and take a trip to Cape Evans.  This is the site where Captain Robert Scott built his hut in 1911 and from which he started his ill-fated attempt to be the first person to reach the south pole.  Amundsen arrived at the south pole only a few weeks prior to Scott and Scott along with the rest of his party died during a storm on the Ross Ice Shelf on their return trip to Cape Evans.  Much of the hut remains the same as when the last of Scott's crew left it close to 90 years ago.
Installing ATIC in the Lower Structure - November 9, 2002

After finishing work on the hodoscopes we were then able to move the experiment to the lower external frame.  This involved attaching the pressure vessel ring and then installing the lower structure.  
A Condition 1 Storm at Willy Field - November 8, 2002

We experienced our first Condition 1 storm at Willy Field on this days.  Several of us stayed the night in the Weatherport as we continued to work on the experiment. 
Working on the ATIC Hodoscopes - November 7, 2002

One of our first tasks on site was to identify and fix problems with the ATIC hodoscope detectors.  Overnight runs of the experiment collecting cosmic ray muons was used to examine the performance of all detector layers.  From analysis of these data particular detector channels were identified for tuning.  This collection of images shows some details of the hodoscopes and the work to bring these detectors to flight ready status. 
The Vehicles of McMurdo - November 5, 2002

This is a collection of pictures of various vehicles that are used in or around McMurdo and Williams Field 
McMurdo Halloween Party - November 2, 2002

All holidays in McMurdo occur on the weekend.  Here is a collection of pictures from the Halloween party that was held in the McMurdo gym on Saturday November 2. 
Initial Setup in the Willy Field Weatherport - October 31, 2002

We first visited Willy this season on October 29, 2002 to examine the Weatherport structure that will be our base of operations for the next three months.  Over the next few days we unpacked the crates containing the instrument plus the equipment we will need for detector testing, setup our computer cluster, got power flowing into the building and established our network hookup to the outside world. 
Off to McMurdo, Antarctica - October 28, 2002

Somewhat unusual for this time of year our C-141 transport took off on schedule about 9:00 am on October 28, 2002 and landed on the Ice Runway at McMurdo at about 2:30pm.  
The ATIC Crew Travels to Christchurch, New Zealand - October 26, 2002

The initial ATIC crew left Baton Rouge on October 22, 2002 and arrived in Christchurch on October 24 (We lost a day as we crossed the International Dateline).  For some of us this was close to 30 continuous hours of travel.  Over the next few days we had an opportunity to do a little touring around New Zealand.
The ATIC Hang Test at NSBF - August 1, 2002

The Hang Test is the culmination of pre-deployment integration.  During the event all components making up the balloon payload, including the SIP solar arrays and parachute / termination package, are integration and tested as a complete system.  The payload is "hung" from a launch vehicle and tested to determine if it can function under its own power and communicate with the ground.  In essence, this is a dress rehearsal for the real launch this December.   
New McMurdo LDB Launch Vehicle - July 26, 2002

For many years the size of payloads that could be launched at McMurdo were limited by the relatively lightweight Delta launch vehicle available on site.  NSBF, PSL and NASA have now purchased a new vehicle that will now raise the launch weight capability in Antarctica to that of most North American launch sites.  The vehicle is undergoing final fitting at NSBF and is expected to arrive at Willy Field in January, 2003
Balloon Launch at NSBF - July 25, 2002

NSBF regularly launches smaller payloads from its site in Palestine, Texas.  We were fortunate enough to witness this early morning launch of a solar cell test payload.  In the case of this experiment the science package is actually flown on top of the main balloon
Experiment Assembly at NSBF - July 18-26, 2002

ATIC is preparing to return to Antarctica by first stopping off at the NSBF in Palestine, Texas where the experiment is undergoing Pre-deployment integration.  In these images the refurbished instrument is assembled from the shipping crates in record time and is setup to check out the satellite communication system.
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