First week at ESRANGE

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On Monday afternoon, we all travelled from Munich to Kiruna. After arriving at Kiruna Airport, we picked up our rental car and drove to Esrange Space Center. Surprisingly, we found the 40km long way without any navigation system.

Street to Esrange

Street to Esrange

After the first night, which can’t be considered a real night, as the sun never set, we had our first meeting at 9am. We unpacked our experiments and did first checks if our experiment were still working. Luckily everything was fine.

In the evening, we visited the radar hill, a hill at Esrange where most antennas are located and where you have the best view for watching the scenery (and later the rocket launch).

Panorama taken from the Radar Hill

Panorama taken from the Radar Hill

On Wednesday morning the Comm checks were carried out. Still everything worked for us so we had free time in the afternoon to visit Kiruna.

While driving to Kiruna we went off-road several times and had hope to photograph some moose. We didn’t see any. At about half the way between Esrange and Kiruna we visited an Icehotel. Sadly it way already melting and closed, but we were able to jump over an “ice-fence” and took some photos from inside.

Icehotel

Icehotel

In Kiruna we went to the local church, the town hall, and have seen two statues. A mine worker and a 1:1 model of a Maxus rocket. That was pretty much it.

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Church in Kiruna

Bored by Kiruna’s attractions, everybody was fallen asleep on the way home. Our driver still drove the car securely, but missed the exit to Esrange. After all, we drove into the wrong direction for half an hour. You should know that everything looks quite similar here. Always the same streets, the same trees, the same lakes, the same streets, the same trees, the same lakes.

Lake

Lake

This morning, we were able to sleep a bit longer. Only our team leader had to attend to the morning meeting at 9am. At 2pm, all RX15 experiments were connected with the rocket’s on-board service module. We undertook a first Bench test including two cold countdowns. Surprisingly, our new extraterrestrial friend Paxi from ESA visited us and kept an eye on our ground station.

Bench test

Bench test

Outsourcing the ground station monitoring to an alien

Outsourcing the ground station monitoring to an alien

 

Now we are heading over to a hot countdown tomorrow with all experiments screwed together. If everything stays on schedule, we will be ready for launch after the motor mating on Saturday.

On Monday, additional tests are planned. Our first launch slot is scheduled for Tuesday.

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