Hubble vs Pole
My blog entries have been a bit sporadic lately. Most of that can be blamed on a lack of inspiration as the doldrums of winter take hold of everyone here. We’re all still doing fairly well down here although some “toastiness” is becoming apparent in many as tempers flair, little matters blow up into big deals, more division in the crew arises.
Now I have another good reason for my lack of writing…I can blame NASA.
We’ve just been informed that we will have virtually no internet connectivity for 2 days coming up on July 25-26. Seems that our TDRS satellite is being commandeered by NASA to support some space shuttle going up to fix the Hubble telescope. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad normally but last week we also lost our ability to connect to our other satellites, Marisat and GOES, when our dish broke. At first it was just the elevation motor, for which we have a replacement, but now the elevation jack screw broke (just like it did last year) and that problem is proving harder to fix.
So instead of having about 11 hours of satellite connectivity a day, through which we get our internet access, phone connections to the outside world and up/downloading of science and other data, we’re down to about 6 hours a day at the moment using just the TDRS satellite. And now later this week, we’re not even going to have TDRS.
I know this station survived for a long time before “the internets” and communication to the world used to be through short wave radio. But now we’re all accustomed to checking our Yahoo accounts, catching up on the latest news, researching vacation destinations that we’ll be heading to in a few months and calling home for a few precious hours each day. People plan their breaks and lunch times around the satellite schedule.
I guess this is yet another way in which we are supporting science. I can accept that the Hubble telescope repair is more important than my need to Facebook. It’s a good thing that we’re scheduled to get the satellite back for our own use on a Sunday because I doubt any work would get done after 2 days of internet deprivation.