Over the weekend we discussed some options, plans and schedules for the main campaign in India this summer. Before and During the India Campaign I will keep you updated about the activities and also the motivation of StratoClim.

Now (here in Kiruna) the containers are packed, the hangar is empty and we are all on our way back home.

Empty Arena Arctica

Empty Arena Arctica

 

Packing the container

Packing the container

Geophyisca left this morning at around 10:30 am and is now on the way back to its main base in Russia.

Yesterday most people already started packing their equipment and will go back home in the beginning of next week. This weekend we still have a Campaign Group Meeting here in Kiruna.

Group picture, picture by Ivanov Pavel

Group picture in front of Geophysica, picture by Ivanov Pavel

 

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Group picture in front of Arena Arctica, the pilot in the middle, picture by Ivanov Pavel

 

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Geophysica leaving, picture taken by Ralf Weigel

 

Geophysica before take off, picture taken by Ralf Weigel

Geophysica just before take off, picture taken by Ralf Weigel

Geophysica take off, picture taken by Nicole Spelten

Geophysica take off, picture taken by Nicole Spelten

 

During a walk around the ice hotel

During a walk around the ice hotel yesterday evening.

 

Two smart Scientists pretending to be a bird

Two scientists pretending to be a bird.

 

At the ice hotel, one igloo already broke down

At the ice hotel, one igloo already broke down.

 

 

During a necessary engine test of the research aircraft, we hoped to test our instruments. So today we worked on preparing the instruments. However, the Swedish authorities decided at a meeting this afternoon that Geophysica needs to leave immediately. The Russian embassy contacted the engineers of Geophysica requesting to follow this demand, due to the risk of being impounded. Until now there were potential plans and hopes (i.e., transfer flights to a different country and having test flights there), now we have to interrupt our work and dismount all instruments during the next hours. Geophysica must leave the country tomorrow morning. Everyone is shocked and very disappointed…

in the process of dismounting the instruments

In the process of dismounting the instruments

Earlier today: Working in the labs in the hanger

Earlier today: Working in the labs in the hanger

Due to the current status, Geophysica is not able to leave Sweden before Friday. The Swedish ministry of defense has called the airport several times today to make sure that Geophysica is leaving.

We have been informed that the Swedish authorities are working on new flight permissions. It is unclear whether these flight permissions are for the purpose of our research (which would be great) or for the Geophysica flight to leave the country. Either way, the German-, Italian- and Swiss embassies will ask for new permissions for the research flights. We are hoping for the best…

To get an overview of the airport in Kiruna and where we are located:

At the pin: Arena Arctica, location of our work

Even though it is already mid-April, some of us (not me…) saw some nice polar lights yesterday night.

polar lights, picture taken by Brian Leen

Polar lights, picture taken by Brian Leen

This is the M-55 Geophysica, a Russian high altitude research aircraft. It reaches altitudes up to 21 km and has a flight duration of up to 5 hours. It was built as a Russian spy plane in the 1970s and was reconstructed to an atmospheric research aircraft in the 1990s.

The M-55 Geophysica

The M-55 Geophysica on its way into the Arena Arctica

It arrived yesterday shortly after us and is now sitting in the huge Arena Arctica here in Kiruna.
The plan is to have two test flights during the next two weeks. The first one Thursday 21st of April and the second on Monday 25th. Until then we still need to test the integration onto the aircraft, do lab tests with the instruments and some other preparations.

The Arena Arctica from the top of Geophysica

The Arena Arctica: View from the top of the aircraft