Every highbay needs a gondola…

We have a great highbay down here.  This is where we’re assembling the payload, where we spend all our time working.  There are three things you need for a ballooning highbay:   a big room with a super-high ceiling, a nice big crane, and some huge doors that let you take the assembled payload outside.  Here’s a picture of our gondola hanging from the highbay crane here.

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You can see the 5-ton crane hook at the very top;  everything below that is our gondola.  It hangs from three kevlar (light and strong) ropes.  The black tubular frame of the gondola below those is made of carbon fiber – light and strong, again.  We’ll mount the dewar on that structure, soon.

The white “floor” of the gondola has a lot of electronics and computers on it.  They handle all the pointing motors and sensors, store the data, and talk to the NASA systems that we communicate with either via a direct radiolink or via satellites.

Here’s a picture of the floor, with all the electronics boxes, being set up, cabled, turned on and checked out.

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The doors to the outside are really, really big.  It takes two people, or one super strong person, to open them.  Here’s a picture with one of them open, as we brought some equipment in from outside.

 

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It’s been anywhere between about 0 and 15F outside so far;  opening those doors cools things down inside the highbay in a hurry!  As you can see in this photo, we have the dewar set up right in back of the gondola.  This picture was taken from the “mezzanine” where we have our “office area” set up.  Here’s a picture of the team in “analysis” (and email/facebook/whatever) mode… this was a rare time when most of us were up there!

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The orange bags on the high shelf in back have some of our “Extreme Cold Weather” gear in it;  the green and black bags above those are sleeping bags and pads, in case the weather gets so bad out here that we can’t get back to town.  In “Condition 1″ no one is allowed to leave the building.  We’ve had great weather so far, but we’ve heard from the NASA weather guy that something might hit us tomorrow… we’ll just have to see.

Finally, not really related to highbays, here’s a youtube video of the galley out here, just before I left one recent evening…

All for now!