We have now been here in Antarctica for about a week, and it is time to give you an update on our X-Calibur activities. Last week, we checked out the detector. We verified that it is still working after it spent the last four months in a shipping container. All readout ASICs are still working and the electronic noise levels are acceptable, which is one of our main concerns. In parallel, our colleagues from SuperTIGER checked out their instrument. We are sharing a payload building with them and their instrument is very close to flight readiness. The SuperTIGER team was unfortunate enough to spend an entire summer in Antarctica last year without a chance to launch. So they left their instrument in McMurdo and returned this season.
Today was an important day for us, as we were able to assemble the telescope truss and the balloon gondola. In order to do so, the CSBF crew had to move SuperTIGER out of the building for a few hours in order to make room for us to move in. First, the gondola was moved out of its container and hoisted into the building. Then the CSBF rigging crew unloaded the telescope truss structures and hand carried them into the building. Installation of the trusses onto the center frame went very smoothly since we had done that several times before. The work took under 2 hours. We also installed the detector onto the telescope truss. At the end of the day, most of the mechanical work was completed, although we still have about half a day of work on the gondola ahead of us. Today was a very successful day. Next, we’ll concentrate on the electronics.