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January 23, 2001
January 23, 2001 -- The ATIC Antarctic expedition is winding down.  Yesterday a Twin Otter with a crew of 4 (pilot, co-pilot, Steven Peterzen and Mark Wefel) flew to the ATIC landing site on the Antarctic plateau to begin the disassembly and recovery of the ATIC experiment.  The crew found the payload is fairly good shape, standing upright and only minimal damage to the ATIC solar arrays and external frame.  However, after removing the bottom hemisphere of the pressure vessel they found that 3 out of 4 electronics bay had broken support structures.  Presumably this damage occurred during parachute deployment when the experiment is subject to the largest stress (10 g's) of the flight.   Even with this damage the computer and electronic boards in these bays appear to be intact. The recovery crew removed high priority items from the experiment for transport back to Williams Field.   These items included the flight data storage hard disk, the BGO calorimeter detector, the electronics bays and the ATIC solar array panels.  The data on the storage hard disk was examined today and appears to be intact. An additional Twin Otter flight later this week will be required to recover the remaining detectors and equipment.

In the mean time, the ATIC crew is in the process of packing the support equipment, spared, tools, electronic test equipment and computer system back into the shipment crates.  Most of these crates will return to the US via ocean vessel and will not arrive at LSU until mid-April.  Finally, as our work here is completed the remaining ATIC crew members will return to the US by early next week.  As a result this will be the final Antarctica update to this web site.  It has been an interesting adventure and we intend to return for an ATIC reflight in 2002.


A Twin Otter airplane is used in the recovery of the ATIC experiment 

 

   
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