Monday, August 16, 2010

No raptors were harmed during this alignment...

While we drove home on Friday, the guys up here worked on getting the tracker fully operational.  A critical safety mechanism is a set of radial plugs that connect the SAC to the lower frame of the hexapod.  These plugs will pull out & freeze the system if for any reason things try to move beyond the safe envelope.


Once the sun sank low enough this afternoon, we opened up & started working on the alignment.  This led to a charming, but potentially disasterous, encounter with one of the resident kestrels as it decided that the open CCAS hatch might lead to the ultimate nesting site!  With the kestrel hovering just outside the hatch, eagerly peering in, we eye-balled one another from just over a metre apart before the humans in the tower agreed that it was time to close up...  Play was suspended until it was dark enough for all the kestrels to be in bed!


Although there's a perspex cover over the hole in the floor of the NRS (large circle in the image below), we still get to see shiny M5 (smaller circle) below the triangle holding the alignment target!


After we'd finished getting the target co-planar with the Rho stage, using the alignment telescope up in the CCAS tower, the target could be removed.


The cover over the SAC was removed too & the SAC reference mirror bolted on to the back of M4.


The reference mirror could then be viewed with the alignment telescope & the bolts holding the NRS to the Rho stage adjusted to set the tip & tilt of the SAC.


This all went remarkably well so tomorrow we'll be able to hoist the camera stage assembly onto the tracker & get that set up!

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