Putting it back together (Part 1)

Last night we were sooooo close to having the whole camera put back together… and we noticed that some of the black material we’d installed (to cut down on internal reflections in the camera) was flaking onto a lens. So, we vacuumed it out as best we could, and then did a very scientific test

Video: Very Scientific Test

to see if any more black stuff fell onto the lens. Hard to see in the video, but the verdict was bad – it did. We also noticed the black stuff was in the way of part of the optical beam, and needed to be thinned. Big setback, but our intrepid crew decided on a fix, took apart the cryostat again, fixed everything and got it all back together by dinner today (Sunday).

Here’s a video of the focal plane going back into the cryostat after the fix, a major milestone in our reassembly:

Video: Focal plane goes back into the dewar

Brad is giving the station’s Sunday science lecture tonight; afterwards, we’ll head out and finish closing up the camera, and put it on the optics cryostat. Keep all fingers and toes crossed!