Tomorrow is the day. We’ve been waiting for over a year. Tomorrow we move the patients.
The construction isn’t done. As everybody already knows, we’ve been involved in a dispute with the construction company over the completion of this project. They basically abondoned it for a long while last year, during a time that we had more intense concerns than riding herd on languishing construction people. Unfortunately during that time, the construction company became over-extended and suffered serious critical personnel injury. Once we turned our attention back to that painfully-late project, it was too late to save it gracefully. Instead, it has been frustrating. (We’re still trying to finish, but it finally won’t be much longer.)
The liquid nitrogen plumbing isn’t quite done. We will not have automated fills of the dewars for at least a week after the patients move. We’ve been pulling our entire nitrogen supply off the bulk tank since it was filled last week, but we still haven’t pulled enough to replace the broken valve. Hugh, as the critical individual on this project, has decided his annual-and-only vacation at the Space Access conference is more important. We’ll have to fill the dewars manually (as they need it), and Hugh will be involved with all of them until the plumbing is complete.
If there is a critical juncture in this move, it’s in the fact that the plan involves using a crane to pick the dewars up and swing them around to the new space (lifting only a few inches off the ground). We know we can roll them and all the wheels are greased, so we just have to put them in reach of the crane. We’ll be testing the lifting lugs, and on some dewars that are more than a decade old. The patients are safely submerged in liquid nitrogen, but we’ve been boiling off the uppermost layers to reduce the weight of the units. That will reduce the load on the lugs somewhat.
We’ve never had any of these dewars fail (or fall) with patients inside; but like the delicate move from California, this move is fraught with the potential for disaster.
We believe it will be fine and that all will be well and the new space seem used after so long unfinished. But there’s that niggling doubt, that concern for defenseless things, furry or otherwise, that this could go horribly wrong.
We have tried to engineer this move for safety. Hiring professionals to do the heavy lifting, instead of rolling dewars by hand along the heavily sloped parking lot… that was for patient and staff safety. We have installed a new hoist, that will simplify the moving of patients, if a dewar should suffer a leak. We weren’t able to obtain a plasma cutter in time for the move, and that may become a time-sensitive issue if one of the dewars impacts. (We have cutting tools, of course, but they would take longer in extracting the patients than the beam would.) We do have a spare dewar and enough liquid nitrogen to fill it and the means to do so quickly.
We have also tried to engineer it for speed. We don’t want the bays to be split any longer than they have to, and we don’t want to have to do this two days in a row. The plan is good. The plan should work.