Working at LDB

Working at LDB

A work day at LDB starts with the ~45 minute drive from McMurdo after breakfast. Shuttles are run throughout the day using vans, but the majority of folk at LDB take the 7:30 ride, which uses the larger capacity Kress or “Ivan the Terrabus.” We’ve also had rides on the old school Delta transports, which provide a bumpier ride.

"Ivan the Terra Bus" picking us up at the end of the day at LDB. Ivan is one of the many vehicles used to transport personnel between McMurdo and LDB; I think it's my favorite.
Getting dropped of back in town after a ride in the Kress. While the Kress is an impressive vehicle, riding in the back cabin is probably my least favorite way to get out to LDB. The windows are too high too look out, the cabin isn't heated, and the seats aren't that comfy. However, in the front cabin, seats at proper window height for an amazing view and the spring-loaded seats make for an enjoyable, bouncy ride. Not sure I'd enjoy the ride as much on a morning drive out when I'm trying to nap.

LDB camp itself consists of several heated buildings to support the research payloads, the CSBF instrumentation and in-flight communication, as well as facilities for the necessities in life (eating and digestion).

A panorama of the high bays at LDB. SPIDER is in the center highbay. ANITA, is our neighbor to the left in this photo. COSI (which is flying the first super-pressure ballon science payload) is having a weather port built for them all the way on the left of the photo. You can also see the communications antennas and the CSBF building on the right of the photo.
The necessities of life: building 092 in the foreground is where the restroom is located, the yellow tent-like structure in the back is the galley, where lunch is prepared and served.
One of the more humorous lunch signs put up for a Sunday meal (when the usual chef is off and the station manager filled).

Work within the highbay isn’t that different than work back in Princeton or in Texas, aside from the fact that the highbay is really nice; this is by far the best high bay or field lab space I’ve had the pleasure of working in. However, it can get pretty crowded with all the parallel projects that need to be completed to prepare for integration.

Work inside the highbay. While the space is large, it can get pretty cramped with lots of sub-projects happening simultaneously.

We’ve so far only been opening the high bay doors to get some cargo in and out and to set the crane up outside for some hardware tests. We’ll be opening them more later in the campaign once the experiment is integrated and we need to take the payload outside for compatibility tests. When the doors are open, the entire highbay quickly cools down to the temperature outside. Luckily, it hasn’t been that cold yet; I only need to grab my jacket if the doors are open more than ~30 seconds.

Another view of the high bay, with the doors open.
Steve's not cold!