Brett arrived November 15 and started setting up our workspace. Here are the two payloads ready to be checked out (right). After initial testing, we put the foam enclosures around the payloads (below) which helps to stabilize temperatures during flight.
A "hangtest" was completed on both payloads Saturday, November 27, 2010. This is an outdoor simulation of the payloads in flight configuration. We first attached the solar panels and then attached the flight train (parachute and rope ladder that suspend the payload from the balloon). The payloads were operated during the test, transmitting their data to the BARREL MOC (Mission Operations Center) in U. C. Santa Cruz.
Both payloads are now ready to launch. We are currently waiting for the stratospheric winds to improve and some reviews and paperwork to be completed. In order for each payload to circumnavigate Antarctica, the summer polar vortex must be established over the pole. The winds then carry the payload in a circular path. Right now, the winds aren't quite there yet.