The countdown approaches…

POGOLite is almost ready for launch! As you can see from the photograph, the polarimeter, which once filled our lab at AlbaNova, is now dwarfed by the protective gondola and solar cell arrays. The picture was taken just before Midsummer, during a launch rehearsal. This provided us with a realistic environment to tune-up our pre-flight checklists and confirm that we can operate the polarimeter, pointing system and our satellite communication systems together with the other balloon systems.

PoGOLite hanging on the Hercules launch vehicle
PoGOLite hanging on the Hercules launch vehicle

There are a few items remaining on our ‘to do‘ list and then we’re ready to launch. How long we need to wait will depend on the weather. There are very strict requirements placed on wind speeds at the ground and at altitudes of a few hundred metres. The countdown itself takes about 24 hours once a positive weather prognosis is received. The polyethylene balloon is unpacked at the last moment. Being about as thick as a standard sandwich bag, once unpacked it so fragile that it must either be used or thrown away.

For the latest news updates, you might like to take a look at our recently overhauled web-page.

I’ll post an update here after the launch.

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