The PILOT science and astronomy gondola arrived in Australia in early February, and reached the balloon launch station in Alice Springs in mid-February. The PILOT science team arrived on 11th March, to set up the equipment and make flight preparations.
After equipment health checks were completed at ambient temperature, the instrument and most importantly its sensors were cooled down to about 77 Kelvins (-196.15°C) using nitrogen. Health tests at this temperature were completed successfully.
The health-checks at this temperature were positive.
The next steps are testing the equipment at 4 K (-269.15°C) and then again at flight temperature: 300 mK (-272.85°C).
For the team, the local temperature is in fact between 36 and 39°C in the afternoon, with an “extreme” UV index of 11!
The remaining science teams just joined the PILOT team to make flight preparations on the CARMEN and CLIMAT balloons.