Thursday, December 05, 2013

Satellite woes

This morning I'd planned to moderate the weekly DAQ call and then join Ralf in B2 to help switch the DAQ control server to a new machine. Unfortunately, the satellite didn't cooperate with the former and almost sabotaged the latter.

When I woke before 7AM, the GOES satellite connection was out so we had no connection to the Internet or the phone network. There are a few satellites which cover the South Pole, but it's rare that they overlap so we have backup when one connection fails:

My call was scheduled for 8:30AM this morning (1:30PM CDT) but GOES wasn't up so I had to cancel the call. Fortunately, there is a way for email to leak out. There is an extremely slow link to the rest of the work via the Iridium satellite networkover which e-mail messages below a certain size can be sent almost immediately.

At 8:45AM the GOES link was fixed, so we moved on to the server work and after some preparation we finished very quickly, missing only three and a half minutes of IceCube detector data!

I'll be busy the rest of the day preparing for the next few server switches. One is happening this afternoon but it's pretty simple and I'm estimating that we'll have less than a minute of downtime.

For today's fun South Pole shots, here are a couple of shots taken while I walked to the IceCube Lab. First, a view of the ICL. This building was actually one of a set of dorms back before the current station was built. Once the station became habitable, they parceled the buildings out to several different experiments.

Here's a view, taken from the same spot, looking back at the station. The station is on the left, assorted buildings are visible in the middle, and the berms (the warehouse district of the Pole where things are stashed for long-term storage) are on the far right. You might be able to see several sets of flags scattered around the snowscape. Those are markers for the IceCube strings and icetop stations!


Caley said...

Hey, I recognize those satellites!

Dave Glowacki said...

The "Skynet" entry may be a lie. I mentioned that the Skynet times don't match the expected times for Skynet 4 and one of my colleagues figured out that it's almost certainly "Nato 4B", because Skynet transmissions were interfering with the South Pole telescope!