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November 12, 2000

LDB Ballooning Site at Williams Field, Antarctica (click for high resolution)

November 12, 2000 --  Work continues on getting the ATIC instrument ready for flight.  Joining the crew during the last week are Mark Christl, Jim Kousnetsov and Michael Stewart.

Jim and Mark have proceeded to unpack the Silicon Matrix detector and test it to determine how well it survived the trip.  At this time it appears that only a small number of channels (around 1%) actually need to be repaired.  Initial testing of the calorimeter, S3 and S2 detectors have been completed and essentially all observed problems have been repaired.  Work is now focusing on finishing up the S1 detector.   Our plan is to complete this detector checkout and assemble the instrument stack within the next 5 or 6 days.

On the pressure vessel, both hemispheres have been cleaned and a new pressure seal bladder installed.  Within the next day or so we should have our first leak check of the vessel.  If this goes well then we will try a longer term leak check at a higher internal pressure.

The view at the top of this page shows a panarama view of the Williams Field area where the LDB payloads are assembled and launched.  All of the landmarks in the background, Observation Hill, Castle Rock, Mt. Erebus, Mt. Terra Nova and Mt. Terror, are located on Ross Island.  Mt. Erebus and Mt. Terror were named by James Ross after the two ships in his squadron when he discovered Ross Island in the 1840's.  Williams Field is located on the Ross Ice Shelf about 8 miles from McMurdo Station.  As you can see the facility has all the comforts of home including a power generating station, areas for sleeping, a galley for eating and several latrines (that's correct there are no sewer lines on the ice shelf).  In this view only the top portions of the telemetry (TM) building and the assembly barn can be seen as over the years snow has built up around the building and every year they must be dug out.

Check out ATIC Pictures for some of our latest images.


Mount Erebus as seen from Williams Field

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