Friday, April 06, 2007

Forth Test Day

Yesterday night, once again, Internet was not working at the place we are staying so I enclose here the blog for April 4th, sorry!

Today activities started at 4AM. By 5 we were at the MDRS and ready to go.
We had the life support cart prepared from the night before and everything looked OK. Fabio was suited up at around 5:30 and after a check of the life support we started the first test, which consisted in a walk to determine speed in the NDX-1 in pressurized state.
Speeds were determined between 3.5 and 5 km/h on depending terrain and other conditions. Fabio said he wanted to go faster, but I didn’t wanted to overexert him, and that speed was more than enough for what we wanted to test. Thanks to NASA Spaceward Bound 61 Commander “Chip” Shepherd for helping in the test working the GPS, and as always to Alex Diaz for organizing everything for the EVA test at the MDRS.

The second part of the test was climbing a cliff, getting samples in inclined terrain and doing some measurements with a Geiger counter.
When we were going to move the ATV with the trailer near to the cliff area, our engineer Marcus Medley called our attention about some minor smoke coming from the compressor that pressurizes the suit. We rapidly stopped the test and saw than a capacitor on top of the compressor motor was damaged. It broke, and believe it or not, we had no spare parts for it.
My fault, for failing to consider all possible scenarios.
Sadly we had to stop the test, have Fabio doffing the suit, getting everything back into the MDRS area and driving back to Hanksville to try to resolve the problem.
The mistake was a big one. I had to drive 5 hours back and forth to get a couple of capacitors in Gunnison, UT. To make the long story short we finally resolved the problem and we tested the LSS to try again tomorrow morning to finish the pending tests.

So, tomorrow 4 AM we will attempt again, this time with three crews of national media (and one international) taping all we do (mistakes included). So, let’s hope for the best!. It has been a very full day; we are all very tired and need some rest to be up and ready in a few hours.
We might find some Easter eggs tomorrow as part of the sample collection test!

Pablo de Leon.


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