January 17, 2004
We had our first real count today, but we didn't
launch. Things went relatively smoothly as
we worked out a few communications issues and
discovered a broken pump. We also learned more
about how quickly/slowly the rocket will
cool down in the chill night air if we
leave it vertical on the elevated rail for
too long. Weather predictions are still
very good for tomorrow, though it seems it
may start to get cloudy on Monday. It is
clear as a bell right now.
Science-wise, we had a few small events, but
nothing that lasted long enough, was big enough
to hit, or was in the right place. I've attached
a picture of the radar data that we are using to
learn about the ion upflows we are trying to
catch. In the panel marked "ion drift velocity"
you can see lots of bright pink (ions moving
away from the radar, or upward) above altitudes
of 400m. However, the total electron density
(the first panel) is fairly low, and in general
the activity level was quite low for most of
the morning. We brought the count down to T-4 minutes,
but the arc that hung over the radars at Longyearbyen
never quite made it over the expected rocket trajectory,
so we'll try again tomorrow.
Click for full-sized .pdf file.