STATUS: Today was quite an exciting day. We had clear skies over Svalbard and calm winds at the rocket range, so we were "green" from the start. The solar wind was also cooperating, at least to some degree, with densities reaching more than 10/cc, solar winds speeds near 400 km/s and magnetic fields between 5 and 10 nT.

There was aurora from the opening of the launch window, though mostly too far north for the rocket to reach and, also, for the EISCAT radar to be able to observe heating and ion outflow. We waited patiently and ate even more pizza in an attempt to bring the aurora southward, but the requisite solar wind magnetic field (negative Bz) never really developed. Apparently, rocket launches need more than frozen pizza to get the right conditions for launch.

We did run into a problem with the gyro again. We had seen a blip several days ago, at a time when winds were very strong and causing brown-outs in the ground support equipment. The gyro recovered and we had not been able to reproduce the problem, leaving us unsure as to the nature of the cause. Today, it failed in a more spectacular fashion, making it clear that a replacement was needed.  Thanks to the spectacular work of the team, including Clay Merscham, Wayne Taylor, Valerie Gsell and others (apologies for not knowing who you are), a new gyro was swapped in with only minimal impact on our launch window. NASCAR pit crews have nothing on this team!!

OUTLOOK: The forecast for tomorrow is again for clear skies over Svalbard and calm (well, calm enough) winds at the rocket range in Andenes. As I write this update, three hours after the close of our window, the solar wind conditions look to be nearly ideal for getting the conditions we need. Hopefully the "good" solar wind will persist as long as the "bad" solar wind -- and then we go!!

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