15, 2007: The ATIC
crew is currently only days away from our fourth trip to
Antarctica and the last several months have been very busy.
ATIC’s trip to Antarctica began on July 10, 2007 when the experiment
was loaded onto a flat bed trailer in front of Nicholson Hall to begin
the first leg of its journey. The initial stop was at Palestine, Texas,
home to the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF), where ATIC was
schedule to integrate with the balloon craft systems. Our crew
arrived on July 17 and spent the next two week testing detectors,
assembling the experiment into the external frame and installing the
CSBF communication equipment and antenna.
New this year is a high gain TDRSS antenna which we are hoping will
provide a 100 kbps telemetry downlink during the ATIC flight. This
will be about 16 times faster than our previous telemetry stream,
enabling a larger percentage of the ATIC data to be received in real
time. In the middle of this activity a group from the local “Red
Hat Society” paid us a visit and we took the time to give them a tour of
the experiment. Finally, on August 3 ATIC was ready for the
compatibility test which is basically a dress rehearsal for launch.
The payload is picked up by the launch vehicle and all balloon craft
systems are hooked up and checked out. No major issues were
uncovered during this “hang” test and ATIC was quickly disassembled and
packed in the C containers.
The payload and support equipment was shipped from the CSBF on August 21
and we expect to meet up with it again on October 23 when we are
scheduled to arrive in McMurdo, Antarctica.
ATIC-4 was rolled out of the hanger for an evening test of the TDRSS
high gain communication system
The ATIC experiment is shown here hanging from “Big Bill” during
compatibility testing on August 3, 2007
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