ALTEX Arctic Cruise
October 7 - November 7, 2001
Tromso, Norway to the Arctic Circle
October 9, 2001: Day #3
Mike Pinto writes: We spent the day steaming north towards the ice, troubleshooting the problems from yesterday’s mission and reconfiguring the vehicle without the ice launching section. The vehicle is much easier to ballast in the short configuration and will remove one unknown from the equation. The plan will be to test and run the short vehicle under the ice and then reconfigure with the ice buoy launcher, test in open water, and then test under ice. We are all working hard - you can see DJ working on Dorado below and Rob and others plugging away on their laptops.
Much progress was made in determining possible sources of yesterday’s problems. Communication from the Kearfott was intermittent due to a loose connector that was repaired. The radio TCPIP antenna (which is used to communicate with the vehicle) was relocated away from the high-energy radiation sources on the conning tower.
Tonight’s science meeting covered a coordination plan for the next test mission that will utilize solid radio and telephone communication channels and lookouts at several locations while the vehicle is in the water. Drew was working up assignments for vehicle ops, hydrophone and ADF tracking, communications, and visual sighting. Jim Bellingham shared some graphical representations of today’s ice locations provided by the JPL science group. It appears the ice may be closer than first thought. The plan for tomorrow (Wed) includes a stop along the way to test communications, initializing the INS (guidance system), and to run test missions in open water.
We expect to be in the ice area on Thursday morning. E-mail connections are marginal (we will be losing INMARSAT coverage soon) but I will send updates whenever possible.