Today the mechanical team of EXIST and me (Mechanical Department in IRIS) visited the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, which is the launch site for balloons and rockets for the REXUS/BEXUS program. And it was tremendously inspiring! We passed by the main building where the restaurant Space Inn and the Aurora hotel are present. We met some really nice people and we were lucky enough to attend to a launch countdown. Esrange’s employees worked hard to follow the launch procedure but it didn’t stop them from discussing with us. A very nice man presented to us the MAPHEUS-6 experiment, he took the time to explain to us each part of the upper stage of the rocket, it was impressive. Then an announcement from the loudspeakers prevented him from continuing further, as he certainly had much more important work to do today.
However today was a bad day for launching a rocket, the wind was way too strong and it was snowing as well, but it wasn’t the goal of our visit.
We came to Esrange to see directly the gondola, the mechanical structure of the balloon where the BEXUS experiments are mounted. I had the opportunity to discuss with Nathan McCabe, responsible for the Flight Operations for the BEXUS program, and his input on our design has been valuable. He pointed out that making holes in the structure of the gondola, in order to point the photodiodes towards the ground and the sky, will depend on the impact of those holes on the gondola structure resistance.
Now that I have earned direct input from professionals and seen the dynamic within Esrange, I feel more inspired and motivated to work on IRIS.
See you soon!