Sunday, June 13, 2010

The final test flight

One could only hear the sound of the engine of the minivan as it took us to the airport. The night of June 12th was the night of the final test flight. In the briefing before the final track, flight path and star charts were reviewed one more time. Everyone was clearly tense. Hoping for a good night.

Setting up the equipment and recording went fine. Finding the star cluster where Hayabusa should first be visible for us needed a couple of rounds on the race track because our pointing camera was not able to spot the brighter stars that we would like to have used  to fix our orientation. The window frame was in the way. Realizing this we could finally find the star cluster, which appeared rather dim on the virtual reality headset. The recordings looked fine.

When we left the racetrack to head back in a 90 minute flight to Melbourne the system failed again on us. Possibly because of a power glitch. We will have a few hours left to get it all sorted out before the actual re-entry of Hayabusa. This will take place on June 13th around midnight. Live video feeds will be available. For more information see the Official SETI blog.