STATUS: I will provide a summary of what has taken place late yesterday and through the day today, but need to provide some background first.

This rocket has four stages. By the time the third stage has completed firing, the rocket will basically be above the atmosphere. At this point, in order to get the maximum possible lift from the fourth stage, the nose cone gets ejected (in the forward direction) to make the payload lighter. It then has to be kicked out of the way so that when the fourth stage is ignited it doesn't crash into the nose cone. The device that kicks it out of the way is the Lateral Eject Ojive System (LEOS), which uses a pyro device to eject a mass laterally from the nose cone, with the recoil moving the nose cone out of the way.

When the Wallops folks went to arm the LEOS pyro device, they found an unexpected voltage in their preliminary tests. While they did learn that orienting the battery pack could magically make the stray voltage disappear, they could not really determine its cause. Just as Harry Potter is not allowed to use magic when he goes home for Christmas, we are not allowed to use magic to fix the various parts of the rocket. Instead, a replacement LEOS is being shipped here as quickly as possible. Currently, the plan is to make the change late tomorrow (Tuesday) night, in preparation for the start of a launch window early Wednesday morning.

OUTLOOK: The solar wind continues to be favorable, if not all that spectacular. Although we started the day with a light snow (so we would not have launched even if the rocket was ready), the skies have progressively become clearer and we now have  good aurora overhead. One of the active regions that appeared on the sun yesterday has remained small but is quite bright and may well provide the conditions we need in a few days. See, noting the active region very near the middle of the sun.

OTHER: With a bit more time on our hands, we were able to visit Svalsat, a satellite tracking station here in Longyearbyen (see While Svalsat is used to track many, many satellites that pass overhead, it will also be used to receive the data transmitted from our rocket (with another system in place in Tromsø). I would like to be able to show photos, but it was completely dark and snowing hard when we visited. On the other hand, we did pass the Global Seed Vault on the way up the hill to Svalsat, so I got a photo of the sign (with huge snowflakes). We are not allowed to enter the Seed Vault.

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