Campaign Blog

Ready for Launch

By krawcz on December 12, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / 1 Comment

X-Calibur is ready for launch as of today! We successfully passed the “compatibility test” in which the experiment is fully configured for launch, and put on the “boss” – a giant launch vehicle. The boss will hold the experiment while the balloon inflates with helium...

Installing and aligning the X-ray mirror

By Fabian Kislat on December 1, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / 2 Comments

On Thursday we installed the InFOCuS X-ray mirror in the X-Calibur telescope. The mirror with a focal length of 8m focuses X-rays onto the detector by deflecting them at a very small angle off 255 nested conical aluminum shells. Each shell has about 200 alternating thin layers of platinum and car...

Assembling the Telescope

By Fabian Kislat on November 27, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / 2 Comments

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 [&h...

The pressure ridges

By Fabian Kislat on November 24, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / No Comments

Recreation staff and volunteers in McMurdo offer several guided tours around the station into areas that are usually not accessible. On Friday, Henric Krawczynski, Hiromitsu Takahashi, Takashi Okajima, and I participated in a tour of the pressure ridges near Scott Base, the station of Antarctica ...

On board the C-17

Traveling to Antarctica, Part 2

By Fabian Kislat on November 24, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / 3 Comments

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 Ch...

ECW clothing display

Traveling to Antarctica

By Fabian Kislat on November 18, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / 1 Comment

We are finally on our way to Antarctica. Bad weather in McMurdo delayed the opening of the Long Duration Balloon facility and we were forced to stay home and wait. Henric and I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand, yesterday after a 24-hour journey. We left the US on Thursday and arrived on Satur...

Compatibility Test

By rgbose on July 24, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / No Comments

The integration of the payload culminated today when the telescope was brought outside at 6am for the final compatibility test. We verified that the power system worked and that all the command and data links between the science payload, the Support Instrumentation Package, the antennae, the sate...

Tests of the LED Ring

By rgbose on July 18, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / No Comments

X-Calibur has pairs of LEDs arranged in a ring with one missing to aide alignment of the mirror with the polarimeter and to monitor the 8m long telescope truss for deformations.

Integration Continues at CSBF

By rgbose on July 17, 2018 in 2018 McMurdo Campaign / No Comments

Integration at CSBF is in full swing. Teams from Washington University in St. Louis and NASA Wallops are testing and assembling pieces of the instrument. Truss assembly Thermal and vacuum tests of the electronics Solar panel testing Wallops Arc-Second Pointer pointing system electronics X-Ray mir...

X-Calibur Landing and Recovery

By krawcz on September 19, 2016 in 2016 Fort Sumner Campaign / 4 Comments

The payload landed at the border between Arizona and New Mexico in a low-population area. We were <really> lucky and the payload is mostly undamaged. The temperature sensitive mirror was already retrieved and is on its way to Fort Sumner. The rest of the payload will probably be recovered t...

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