|Posted on Jan 24, 2013 02:45:45 PM | Maria Navarro | 3 Comments ||
Day 7: A way to do it wrong!
Well, besides continuing to clean canister (with my warm oven), today we had our first communications test (IT test). This test evaluates if our instrument receive the commands from our ground computer, and if it communicates through the right satellites. The procedure is very simple. The instruments are powered up one by one and the network engineers check for the signals inside the aircraft and through the satellites. In our case, we use our ground computer to monitor the signals by receiving something we call “engineering packet”, a record of all the commands we send and receive from both aircraft and ground computers. During the test, I saw how all instruments were tuned on and working fine, until finally our instrument was turned on but, we did not see any engineering packet (bummer!!!). I couldn’t help but wonder…what were wrong with our instrument? I felt extremely disappointed. I performed several bench tests and both computers communicated perfectly. I also double checked that the aircraft computer was turned on correctly before performing the test, so, what went wrong? I thought a lot about it while I was walking back from the operation center to the hangar, but there was something else that really bothered me...I think it was the embarrassment because our instrument was the only one that didn’t work...Luckily, we were able to go to the runway and check our aircraft computer. We realized then, that the aircraft computer did not open the default program so it was impossible for it to communicate. Once we solved the problem and confirmed that everything was working fine, I decided to get rid of my embarrassment by remembering the great words of Benjamin Franklyn: “I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”
The aircraft been pull out from the hangar to runway for IT test
Global Hawk satellite antenna
Members of each team in the Global Hawk Operation Center during IT test.
Day 8 and 9: Sick Days!
It is Wednesday, Jan 9th, exactly one week working at Dryden. The job has been going really well, but now, it is me who does not feel well.
I took some time off to recover from a terrible poison food. Being sick during my field work has been one of my worst experiences. I honestly tried to rest on my hotel room, but subconsciously, I was still thinking about how things were going in the hangar. Fortunately, things were running smoothly and my team did not need me around. I bet interesting things happened at Dryden, but more excited things are about to happen!
Day 10: Here is the plan!
I came back to work today. I kept cleaning the canisters (fortunately the last set), but the most interesting part of the day was our first Science meeting. Around 1: 00 pm all the scientists met with the Principal Investigators (Eric Jensen and Lenny Pfister) to talk about flight plans, science targets and meteorological issues. It seems like the flight strategies are pretty clear, and the weather seems to cooperate for the flight proposed for next week. Let’s just hope we can complete all the combine system tests on time, thus we can be ready for our first science flight!!!, and let me enjoy the weekend, which weather seem to be pretty awesome too!!!
DAY 13: CST, PRE-CST, PRE2 CST…which one is it?
Well, to be honest, today I felt like I was in an operating room, but outside…in the waiting area. We started our morning ready for a CST (combine system test), a communication test that involved the science teams and the aircraft pilots. Unfortunately, the Ku- band system failed for almost half of the day and we did not have any other option than wait until it was fixed…Yes, these things happens and it is no one fault…for this reason you should always be prepare and expect the unexpected during field work.
Around 3:00 pm Ku-band became operative. However, the CST turned into a PRE-CST (the same exercise but w/o pilots) as the pilots were not available at the moment. The bright side of this test was the successful result of our instrument. We were finally able to communicate through both bands KU and Iridium.
AWAS ground computer during Pre-CST (yes!!! It is working)
Tags : ATTREX