Sunday, December 07, 2008

First Day at Work

The payload integration facilities. We are working in the near building.

The Galley - We are about a 30 minute drive from town, so we have our own dining hall for lunch time. Since it is Sunday, we did not have the regular kitchen staff. We had to make due with a team effort.

Sully cooking steaks on the barbie - Is this a great photo or what?

Me and Mt. Erebus, the southernmost active volcano in the world. It is about 25 miles away and 12,000 ft tall.

Dwayne helping out with lunch

We are finally here and we wanted to get flight ready as soon as possible. We decided to get to it and do a full day’s work on Sunday. We loaded up in the van and drove out to Williams Field where we do all of the payload integration and flight operations. We passed through Scott Base, which is on the other side of Ross Island. Scott Base is operated by New Zealand. We then passed down onto the ice. Williams field is an ice runway that us used by ski-equipped C-130’s. They are designated LC-130’s in official Air Force jargon. We arrived at the payload integration barn and got to work setting up our work area and getting the balloon ready for flight. The facilities are excellent and we had a very productive day. We started with the balloon box in the middle of the floor and ended up with the balloon out and the inflation cans installed. We had an excellent lunch prepared by Dave Sullivan, our Aussie Campaign Manager. Dwayne pitched in on the salad preparation and I helped out on dish washing duty after lunch. While putting stuff up in the kitchen, I asked if there is any need to keep things sealed to keep out unwanted critters. It makes sense, but I did not realize this: there are no pests here. No insects, no rats, mice, nothing. It is a totally sterile environment with the exception of the germs that people pass around. Frequent hand washing is heavily emphasized here because of the close living quarters. There has been an outbreak of "the crud" here so we are all being especially vigilant. We also are making use of lots of hand sanitizer.


Anonymous said...

Roll call from Knoxville, TN! We have enjoyed "chillin' out" while reading your your humor and postings on life on the ice. We are thinking about you and hope you enjoy this once in a lifetime experience!

Much love,

Bill and Delaney

Taryn said...

Hi Daddy! I miss you! I hope that you are having a good time! Mom had to kill a roach the other day, PLEASE come home soon so I don't have to get one! I enjoy seeing you in your Marvin the Martian T-Shirt and Lowell Observatory hat! I'm not surprised that they went with you! I love you!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mike,
This is Andrew N (asiaN), Kendall's friend, and she let me read your blogs and I think that's awesome what you're doing! I'm an Enviornmental Geoscience major, so I've had professors talk about experiments in Antarctica and stuff, so it's really cool! Well I hope everything goes well with the balloons.

Andrew Nalundasan