Thursday, January 10, 2008
After setting up our indoor work space and logistics, today we set about to verify the site layout for anchors, and Todd and Scott started to check out and “wake up” the instrumentation packages that were shipped from NASA/JSC. One thing to note, the NSF and Raytheon have really prepared for our visit and provided people, tools, and support. Without this, our setup would have taken a longer period of time. We are truly grateful for their support, really fostering the team approach of this project from day one.
About mid-day we decided to head to lunch and start the layout and initial inflation about 2 pm local. The 2 packages (Hab1 and Hab2) of the habitat were delivered to the site (adjacent to the Science Support Center), the support equipment package (including the inflation system, tie down anchors, etc) was carried out, and the “crew” assembled for assembly and deployment. First we staked out the approximate area for the hab packages to be put, and then we removed the cardboard packaging to get to the real packages wrapped in plastic. We then set about to unfold and join (by large zippers) the Hab1 and Hab2 sections. Then the inflation system was attached, inflation occurred, and ground stakes were put in place (attached to ground anchors previously installed by NSF). The entire operation (from moving the packages to proper location to full inflation) took less than 1 hour, with the inflation occurring in 14 minutes. This was done in 20 – 25 knot winds with gusts to 35 knots and blowing snow. It was great conditions for testing the procedures and method for structure deployment the NASA/NSF/ILC Dover) team had developed. It should also be noted it was accomplished with a crew of 4 people. Considering we had set a goal of 4 hours with 4 people, we feel this is a successful demonstration of the benefits of deployable/inflatable structures for both the NSF and NASA.
What follows in the blog are some photos that capture the day’s activities. We will spend the next few days making adjustments and “fine tuning” the anchors, installing additional sensors, installing the floor. According to the weather forecast for tomorrow, it will be done in the same conditions as today.