San Diego, CA
We know it’s been awhile, but as promised, here is our long overdue Project Pegasus update:
The end of our construction phase was a little bit more hectic than anticipated. While Pegasus performed swimmingly in its first saltwater test in Mission Bay, we were dealing with a phantom issue just three weeks before the Edwards Lab was due to depart for the Aleutian Archipelago. After much back and forth we ended up sending our little robot to the good folks at OpenROV, who immediately identified the issue; a faulty controller board in the e-chassis. With hours to spare they shipped Pegasus back me to just a day before I jumped on a plane for Alaska.
But, the trouble didn’t stop there. Tragically, water found its way into the e-chassis on Pegasus’s first dive on Amchitka Island. After all of our hard work, I was pretty devastated. But hey, that’s the price you pay for bringing experimental equipment into the field. And I’m still incredibly proud of the teamwork and dedication displayed by Project Pegasus team members. But, don’t think for a second that we didn’t try our best to troubleshoot in the field. I owe a big thanks to MarTech Croy for taking time out of his busy schedule to help me identify the actual issue with Pegasus while aboard the Oceanus.
However, we had our hands full in Alaska; unfortunately, little Pegasus had to sit tight until we got back. Things really ramped up this semester; the team and I weren’t able to meet until December to try and get Pegasus back online. After several months, I was incredibly impressed at how easily the team picked up the slack. We had a big job ahead of us: rebuild the controller board. Plus, we had to rebuild and reattach the starboard battery tube; the limited connective wires meant we were working in a tight space. In no time the team was soldering and solvent welding as if it was second nature. What I had originally anticipated to be a six-hour repair ended up taking just over two hours!
So, that’s it for now. Pegasus is rebuilt, and patiently awaiting our return from the winter holidays to get it back online. I have no doubt that we’ll be flying Pegasus once again in no time!
Pike Spector is currently a Research Operations Specialist with Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary