In our last post, I wrote about the first part of our journey to Antarctica, which took us to New Zealand. Now we have arrived and I am finally catching up with blogging. On Monday, Henric Krawczynski, Hiromitsu Takahashi, and I, as well as the WASP crew from Wallops Flight Facility, flew from Christchurch to McMurdo on a C-17 military cargo aircraft. The plane carried both passengers and cargo on the fairly uneventful five-hour flight. Often, the crew allow tours of the cockpit. Unfortunately, due to the number of passengers on our flight and operational constraints, they did not in our case. The aircraft only has a few small windows, but even so afforded some spectacular views once we reached Antarctica.After arrival at Phoenix airfield on the sea ice outside McMurdo station we were transported to the station on the Kress passenger trailer towed by a large tractor, which took about an hour. Once at the station, we were greeted by our colleagues from SuperTIGER, who had arrived a week earlier. We were given an overview of station life during a short orientation session in the Chalet, the administrative headquarters of McMurdo, before heading off to our rooms. In the days following our arrival we attended a range of briefings and training sessions: science inbrief, computer setup, safety tour of Crary lab, environmental field brief, outdoor safety lecture (a prerequisite to recreational hiking around the station), light vehicle safety training, fire safety, waste & recycling, medical brief, harassment awareness & prevention.
After completion of these training sessions, we were fortunate to be allowed to start working at the long-duration balloon site, even though the camp was not yet entirely set up. The payload buildings are complete, but for now we do not have a galley and will have to make do with outhouses at the LDB site instead of restrooms. This does not bother us, though, the most important thing is that we can start working on X-Calibur and start making up for all the time we lost due to bad weather.