Re: Shipping Scopes

John Williams

Very interesting Steven. As far as shipping something with no danger of damaging it, maybe from The Starship Enterprise by transporter beam! In 1969 we started doing long baseline interferometry which involved recording radio telescope observations from three different radio observatories around the world on 2 inch video tape. Once the observing process was completed the tapes were all shipped to Ottawa for computer processing. Recorded on the tapes was also a timing track consisting of pulses from a caesium standard. So along with the tapes, the caesium clocks had to also be shipped so they could all be synchronized. The only way we could make sure they wouldn’t be damaged in transit was to buy two airline tickets. There was one for the technician, and the other was for the clock. They had to be in first class as the clock was too wide for coach seats. It did turn some heads of the other passengers to see this huge case in the seat, with lights blinking and radiation warning stickers plastered all over it. Those were the good old days.

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