Thursday, April 7, 2011

RSS goes UP!!!

Huge & Very successful day at SALT - RSS went back up today, absolutely perfectly done! :)  Knowing that everyone's keen to see all the action, I'm just posting the photos for now & will add captions & narrative as time permits...  Thanks to Anthony for some extra pictures taken with his beefy flash!

Late yesterday, RSS was powered down & taken off its life-support, in preparation for today's lift...  All dressed up & ready to go!

Some serious business had to be taken care of before the games could begin - here's Ken presenting Peter with a much-deserved award for his heroic efforts in getting RSS back together again.

Having shed so much blood for this instrument, a Purple Heart would've been in order - but this was the best that could be arranged on fairly short notice...

Our gentlemen of the spectrograph - Ken sporting his RSS PI hat, kindly donated last night by "the hired help" at Perlman's.

After a minor hold-up, during which the 4th chain block was hunted down, the riggers could get on with their part of the show.

Once securely attached to the lifting assembly, the whole lot was cranked over to 37 degrees.

Plenty of advice was freely available throughout the process, here we see some input from stage left.

Lift-off was painless this time - not a single crowbar was required!

Thanks to Zulu for adding a touch of class to the proceedings, delivering left-overs from the Thursday morning hostel tea...

Soon we got a good look at the underside of the beast.

The slightly anxious instrument PI was in a good position to watch it disappear up through the hatch.

The spectrograph herders took over on the first floor, guiding it up safely.

The etalon cables rode up on top of the rest.

Thanks Ant for this slightly more arty angle on things!

All hands on deck & all eyes on the creature rising from below...

Nerve-wracking stuff as Jono slowly hoisted it up on the dome crane.

Looking sinister...

The welcoming committee was on hand to greet the new arrival when it reached the catwalk.

Very impressive flash work there Ant, from all the way down on the first floor!

Charl keeping an eye while Hitesh rotated the structure into position underneath the spectrograph.

Then the fine adjustments were made by moving the tracker into place.

Ready to be deposited on the tracker!

The gang of 5 was in position to make sure that nothing got crunched as RSS was lowered into place.

The peanut gallery looked on anxiously from the catwalk below.

It was all rather too much excitement for our poor over-worked SALT Astronomer of the week...

Here's the view from across the dome.

Not the most ergonomic environment ever, but the team's perfectly at home up there.

With the spectrograph securely attached, the whole contraption could be released from the dome crane. 

& some deep sighs of relief could be exhaled - excellent job guys! :)

All smiles on their way down for a late lunch!

No much later, Peter was back in action on top of his spectrograph - getting everything connected up...

Down on the catwalk, Charl, Ockert & Jonathan worked on feeding all the wires through the cable wrap.

The new-look top end of the telescope :)

Down on the pier, the Cryotiger was connected up inside Igloo 8 - without the accidental release of noxious PT-30 gas this time!

Meanwhile, the spectrometer room suddenly looks a whole lot more spacious - not for too much longer though as the HRS is due to be delivered towards the end of the year.

The CCAS tower's now the perfect vantage point from which to photograph the RSS!  Here's Charl & Peter working their magic to get everything going up there.

Down in the control room, Ken was looking remarkably relaxed considering what a stressful day it'd been.  The smiles grew steadily as more & more mechanisms were tested & confirmed to still be functional.

A celebratory braai in the Rec Centre followed & included champers & a speech from Chris (accompanied by his better half, indicated by the arrow on the wall!).

This turned into one of the larger crowds for such an event, once the die-hard tech ops crew finally managed to drag themselves away from RSS & the rest got out of the 2 hour BEC meeting ...

Much later, the natives grew restless & the thought of depositing some of Ockert's sodium stash in the dam became incredibly appealing :}

A number of innocent margarine tubs were sacrificed for the cause, but the resulting explosions more than justified their flaming departures!

We predict saturated sodium lines in the 1.9-m's spectra tonight ;)

It was windy, cold & late, but these people know how to play almost as hard as they work!

Wow - a day to remember :)

No comments:

Post a Comment