Yesterday (Wednesday) we had a hang test, which means we hung the instrument from the launch vehicle (a fancy crane) and ran it for hours while all the communications were tested. The instrument passed, with only a few glitches, which we were able to correct or magically fixed themselves. Not all the CSBF communications worked though, so we will go back outside to test them after they get fixed. We also forgot to test uplinking through all three available communications channels (for the geeks among you, they are line-of-sight telemetry, TDRSS satellite, and Iridium satellite).
Sadly, my errant problem child showed it's true colors during the test. The pattern is that when it's warm, it works, when it's cold, it doesn't. There's probably a cold-solder joint in the tube base. Anyway, the upshot is that I can either make sure it keeps warm in flight by putting an electric blanket on it, or replace it. The first requires power and wiring, and runs the risk of our guess as to how much blanket to use being too much or too little. The latter runs the risk of damaging the detector during the switch (I have to tear into a wrap job and pry off a glued disk) and then having the new tube be just as flaky as the old one.
A replacement is a two day affair; I still want to see a "smoking gun" piece of evidence for the tube being the source of the trouble. When we roll out to retest the communications, I'll watch the tube quit working, then wrap it in handwarmers to see if it comes back. If it does, then I choose between the options outlined above.
We are only a few days from being flight ready, at which point it becomes a waiting game. The winds aloft have to be just right, and they are currently not predicted to set in before December 15, and likely later than that but still before Christmas. It's time for me to start thinking about coming home. I put in my request this morning for a 12 December departure from McMurdo. I do not plan to stay for the launch. I'll be a US data-watcher while the instrument is in the air.
In other news, my small camera has bitten the dust. The lens will no longer retract on my Canon Powershot. After much internet surfing and some camera deconstructing, it is now even worse than it was. I guess I know what I'll soon be buying a new one of. In the meantime, I am hauling around my Nikon, which is not nearly so convenient.