Floating test of ICARUS-Antenne

On Thursday, 20th October 2016 a floating test of the ICARUS-antenna took place in the air-house of the Bodensee-Therme at Constance. This antenna will be transported to the ISS and mounted in summer 2017. The purpose of this mission is the recording of signals from transmitters attached to small animals, i.e. birds. The signals will be forwarded to a control center to evaluate the data.
On site were Martin Wikelski, director of the department of migration and immune-ecology at Max-Planck-Institute of ornithology, Russian and German engineers, teams from radio and television, staff of the Max-Planck-Institute, 9 children at the age from 12 to 15 years with their parents and further interested persons.
The antenna was delivered in an estate car to the entrance and was laid in a radio reception car of Max-Planck-Institute. There I could have a look at the antenna together with the attenders and take pictures. After half an hour we children were led by Babette Eid to Martin Wikelski and a German engineer. They answered all questions asked by the children. The Questions have been how much the antenna weighs, why the test will be taken in water, why the model of the antenna has been filled with Styrofoam and laid out with a layer of aluminum. Many of the questions have been recorded by a film team. It was a long interview and our questions have been answered patiently and detailed.
After the interview all attendees went into the entrance hall where they waited while the test was prepared. During this waiting time we could take pictures and the radio team interviewed some people.
About 21.45 the test was prepared and we were allowed to go into the air-house, accompanied by an employee of the Bodensee-Therme. The air-house is an open air swimming pool canopied in winter by an inflated canvas. At entering the hall the difference of pressure felt uncomfortable.
Now we positioned us at the edge of the swimming pool and waited for the immersion of the antenna. Some of us children had diving suits and were allowed to swim with the engineers and Martin Wikelski and could be present during the floating test of the antenna.
During the stay in the water the antenna was unfolded and refolded under water, which has been recorded by video and photo. After retracting the antenna from the water I could go home with my father while the adults have been invited to a drink.
I liked the evening very much. The interview was very interesting, especially while the television team was active in the background, though the waiting time between the television and radio recordings were less fun. Thank you very much that I could be there! Isabelle

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