STATUS: Today was mostly a good day. We battled strong winds again and lost, but we had aurora overhead in Longyearbyen for almost the entire day, with clear skies in Longyearbyen and Ny Ålesund. As we started the day, we had moderate winds (and rain) but elevated the launcher anyway in anticipation of decreased winds. The other rocket here (ECOMA) also went vertical. Shortly afterwards, winds increased dramatically and before RENU could be lowered, its insulating box was damaged with parts of it blowing out to sea (the ocean is maybe 100 yards from the launcher). The team scrambled to get it repaired which was completed successfully, but the increased winds meant we were "out" for winds and we remained horizontal for the remainder of the day. In the meantime ECOMA, which did not have the box problem, did manage to launch and had excellent success both because of the data they acquired and the fact that their payload was recovered (in the dark, in 2 meter waves!!). It is worth noting that their launch conditions were very different than ours, which is why they were able to pull it off while we continue to sit and wait.

Science conditions have improved for us, with a quiet and stable auroral arc sitting overhead for most of the day. The EISCAT radar measured ion outflow associated with the arc, which is what we are looking for. On the other hand, this particular arc was occurring much earlier in the day than expected which made us skeptical -- which never really mattered anyway, since the winds kept us in a no-go situation the entire time.

OUTLOOK: The solar wind is clearly improving, although there is nowhere to go but "up". The density has improved dramatically and the magnetic field is getting stronger and stronger. The speed is still very low. Weather forecasts tell us that skies should still be clear for us in Longyearbyen and Ny Ålesund for another day at least, The ground winds at the launch range, though, may still be a problem for the next few days.

The recipe for launching a rocket call for patience and optimism in unspecified amounts. I guess we need a bit more!!

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