Wednesday April 22nd 2009. Launch -19 days and Holding.
We were expecting some kind of statement from Arianespace yesterday, but given that an announcement is planned for Friday, it was not a complete surprise that nothing new was forthcoming. Planck is going to be mounted on top of the Ariane now anyway, so the supposition is that we cannot be too far from launch.
Today has gone better than yesterday. The buzzword has been “fast turnaround” and demonstrating that we can react quickly and efficiently. Today it was a new instrument. A new delivery. Everything was correctly configured, so things went faster, but it is still very tiring and stressful. This is not the way to pass a relaxing day!
Apart from that this has been an exact mirror-image of yesterday. The only difference was that I left about 5 minutes earlier and beat the fading light by a bit more. I am still out of the house for 12 hours each day and then working for at least an hour when I get home. People are tired. They are stressed. And some are getting pretty short-tempered and cranky. It does not help that the software tests have, as expected, found some problems and not all the test activities are going as well as we would have hoped: in fact, the Mission Planning part that I am involved in is going extremely well, but that does not hide the fact that the data processing has unearthed some tricky problems.