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July 26, 2002
July 26, 2002 -- The ATIC experiment and crew have returned to the National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF) in Palestine, Texas to proceed with the Antarctica  Pre-deployment Integration.  Crew and crates arrived on July 18 and assembly proceeded swiftly and smoothly.  Within a week all detectors were stacked and integrated with the ATIC Flight Data System, the instrument was installed in the pressure shell ring and external structure and testing with the NSBF Support Instrument Package (SIP) was started.  One such test was to roll the experiment out of the hanger and check out the TDRSS satellite communication link.  Very few problems have been found with the detectors, electronics, flight software or ground software.  Pre-deployment integration will climax with the "Hang Test" where all NSBF and ATIC components will be assembled and tested all at once.  Following a successful Hang Test the Mission Readiness Review (MRR), scheduled for August 6, will identify any outstanding issues that must be resolved prior to flight.

In the mean time, we had any excellent opportunity to view a early morning balloon launch on the NSBF site.  The experiment flown was used to test a set of solar arrays and was launched with the payload sitting on top of the balloon.  In addition, NSBF is preparing a new launch vehicle for McMurdo to replace the aging Delta vehicle and to provide a significant increase in launch weight capability for Antarctica LDB flights.  As the final assembly of the new vehicle is currently underway at NSBF we had an excellent opportunity to examine it.


ATIC configured for a TDRSS test  

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