Tuesday April 7th
2009. Launch -?? days.
In the morning
the Planck interviews were closed-out by interviewing the last candidate. This
was interesting because, of the three candidates that I knew to some extent the
last was the one who I perhaps knew best. All the candidates got a hard
grilling from us and gave a pretty good insight into their suitability for the
post. Afterwards, we had a long discussion as to the relative merits and
produced our list of priority: what was pleasing was that it was nowhere near
being a clear-cut choice and there was some quite intense debate. This whole
process took up most of the morning.
was back to the intrigues of the Herschel launch and the possible deliberations
of the committee of wise men in Paris. We are hearing hints that the process is actually a lot more
simple and clear-cut than we believed, but we have heard this kind of thing too
often before to feel confident. Inside information is that the committee is
looking for three numbers to feed into a particular equation that will tell
them how the telescope will behave when it is exposed to the noise and
vibration of a launch inside an Ariane 5. Let’s just say that one reason why an
Ariane 5 is not man-rated is that the hold is a pretty dangerous place to be
during the launch: in fact, pretty lethal. We are told that the meeting in Paris will start at
8am tomorrow and we will all be waiting for the puff of smoke out of the ESA
Headquarters chimney. The longer that the meeting lasts, the more that we will
worry. A straw poll of colleagues
revealed all kind of guesses from pretty depressing scenarios up to gung-ho
estimates of a quick launch.
whatever the Cardinals in Paris decide, life goes on and I have another Videocon to prepare
tomorrow for our new test campaign. This means consulting with the Boss about
what to do and making a couple of calls, sending some emails and preparing the
agenda. Having missed last week’s Videocon when I was ill I do feel a little
disorientated. Anyway, the job is done and we are really.
Tonight it was
the turn of the set of bookshelves. This is a big, heavy job: the box weighs
31kg and the shelves are about 2-m high. It was fun. Then it was a matter of
removing books from the display cabinet and books piled on top of books and
setting up the shelves. Good fun. Things are coming together. It looks nice.