Part 1: Integrating the Lamont Gravimeter with the NASA Gulfstream V

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Integrating the Lamont Gravimeter Suite with the NASA Gulfstream V

Outfitting an Ex-corporate Jet for Airborne Science, Part 1

Building up the payload at Lamont-Doherty

After being awarded the exciting opportunity of being on the Instrument Team for the 2019 Antarctic season with NASA Operation IceBridge, the next steps are to get the scientific instruments built up, tested, and in their flight-ready configurations. In this case, we are flying two gravimeters that have only been flown as separate, independent systems in the past. Because the Gulfstream V (or “GV” as we say) is much smaller than the aircraft we’ve used in the past, with the exception of the British Antarctic Survey’s Twin Otter, we only have one rack worth of space to work with. This is mear 24” by 22” of floor area. However, because we are mapping entirely new terrain, final processing of gravitational anomalies are greatly enhanced when we fly both the force-feedback DGS system and the “strap-down” iMAR system.

The challenge associated with combining both gravimeters into a single rack boils down to two simple matters: space and power. For space, we found a solution - the GV rack is slightly taller, and combined with some clever repositioning ideas by Ryan Harris our mechanical engineer, we we able to fit both the iMAR and DGS into a single rack. For power, testing revealed that our new universal power supply (UPS) would provide enough power to both meters, including during the power drop-outs and handovers.

The final step is to pack up the systems themselves, the sensors encased safely in LOTS of foam, and all the tools and spares and accessories we can hope to need. Altogether, we shipped 5 boxes totaling