Author Topic: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons  (Read 21781 times)

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« on: 12/13/2009 02:26 AM »
NASA Antarctica Balloon Campaign Underway

from NASA Wallops web site
http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/code820/news/story63.html

The 14 MCF Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) was successfully launched on Dec. 10. Ascent was nominal. However, the balloon envelope catastrophically opened while going into float. CSBF is working to recover both payload and balloon. BPO will be gathering data and evidence and putting together an investigation team.
•The Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass (CREAM V) instrument and CSBF support systems continue functioning nominally. CREAM has been afloat over one week and is currently traversing the continent.
•The initial Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL) flight was terminated December 8 after a payload power supply failure. It was afloat for nearly seven days. The BARREL #2 flight was successfully launched December 6. The flight was terminated the same day after its power supply experienced a failure. The BARREL project team is investigating their science power system problem. Assistance by CSBF, AETD and 820 with reviewing the schematics and data is being provided. The team has reconfigured one of their payloads to use batteries only and is planning to launch this payload at the next available opportunity.

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #1 on: 12/16/2009 03:04 AM »
Antarctic update -

Regarding the BARREL project, the first payload launched as flight 606N on December 2 it was terminated on December 8 at 17:43 utc. The payload landed twenty minutes later 94 nautic miles SW of the point where the unmanned station known as the Antarctic Geophysical Observatory Number 6 is located. As it continued to transmit GPS data through the Iridium link this indicated that the payload was in good shape. Several attempts to reach both BARREL payloads #1 and #2 were cancelled due to poor weather conditions.

On December 13, a second pathfinder balloon was launched, with a double objective: to test a new balloon design and to train people of the BARREL science group in the manual launch procedures that would be used by them when the project start the full scale operations next year. The Pathfinder was launched at 0:11 utc and after reaching float altitude of 134.500 ft. landed at 16:29 utc.

On December 15, the third BARREL payload was launched as flight 609N the flight path can be seen on the CSBF web site:
http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/map/barrel/b3/barrel3.png

BARREL Payloads #4 and #5 are flight ready so probably they will be launched in the upcoming days.

Check out CREAM V, SPB, Pathfinder and BARREL flight paths at:
http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/antarctica/ice0910.htm

CREAM V has been at float altitude for more than 14 days.

« Last Edit: 12/16/2009 03:07 AM by Yeknom-Ecaps »

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #2 on: 12/18/2009 02:02 PM »
Antarctic Update #2 -
CREAM V - Flight 605N - on its second loop of Antarctica at 118,000 ft aloft for nearly 17 days

flt path: http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/map/balloon5/balloon5.htm



BARREL 3 and 4 are aloft at 100,000 ft
flt paths: http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/antarctica/barrel0910.htm


BARREL 5 has not been launched yet
« Last Edit: 12/18/2009 02:03 PM by Yeknom-Ecaps »

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #3 on: 12/20/2009 02:29 AM »
CREAM V took 50 minutes to load Helium into balloon with a several thousand pound payload - currently aloft for over 18 days

First BARREL flight took 5 minutes to inflate the 80 foot balloon with a 40 pound payload


Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #4 on: 12/23/2009 02:28 PM »
The four BARREL flight are now completed - the fifth flight was apparently cancelled as it has been removed from the CSBF flight website.

The four flights paths are located at:
http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/antarctica/barrel0910.htm

CREAM V is still gathering scientific data and is closing in on 22 days aloft. The flight has completed over one and a half loops over Antarctica. Cuurrently its altitude is 128,000 feet.

The CREAM V flight path:
http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/antarctica/barrel0910.htm

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #5 on: 01/01/2010 12:58 AM »
Happy New Year CREAM V!!!!

CREAM V is in its 31st day afloat between 120,000 and 126,000 ft altitute and has nearly 2 and a half loops around the South Pole.

Check out the University of Maryland CREAM home page at:
http://cosmicray.umd.edu/cream/

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #6 on: 01/09/2010 01:51 AM »
CREAM V mission ended Jan 9 McMurdo/Jan 8 UTC after 38 days aloft and 3 loops around Antarctica. CREAM V had the earliest launch in Antarctic balloon flight history - December 1. Here is the final flight path.




Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #7 on: 01/15/2010 03:38 AM »
Here are the final altitude tracking charts from TDRSS and Iridium data for the CREAM V landing.


Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #8 on: 01/21/2010 08:16 PM »
With Antarctic campaign complete next ups:

MIPAS-B / Telis
Esrange Space Center, January 2010

The objective of the balloon campaign is to obtain measurements of stratospheric trace gases within the arctic stratospheric polar vortex as part of continuing research into ozone destruction. 


NASA Australia Campaign Spring 2010
April 2010 will be the start of a long duration campaign of the NASA balloon programs at Alice Springs in central Australia that will include launches of the Nuclear Compton Telescope (NCT), High-Energy Replicated Optics (HERO), International Focusing Optics Collaboration for micro-Crab Sensitivity (InFOCuS), and Tracking and Imaging Gamma-Ray Experiment (TIGRE) instruments - all related to Gamma-Ray studies. An scheduled SPB mission is in doubt after the recent failure of that same balloon at McMurdo Antarctica. This campaign will mark the return to the activity of the Australian station after 7 years of inactivity and several improvements to the facilities there.

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #9 on: 01/25/2010 09:38 PM »
The first stratospheric balloon of 2010 was launched from the ESRANGE base located near the town of Kiruna, in the Arctic Polar Circle. The mission started 1:46 local time (0:46 UTC) and after a nominal climbing phase the balloon (with a volume of 1.3 million cubic feet) attained the float portion at an altitude of 112,000 ft. After near 14 hours of succesful scientific observations, the payload was separated from the balloon, when flying over Finland.

The gondola impacted the ground 25 miles West of Kusamo in Eastern Finland (see image).

The balloon transported a gondola containing two instruments: MIPAS-B (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding - Balloon) a balloon-borne version of an advanced Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) spectrometer onboard the European satellite ENVISAT which allows precise limb emission sounding of chemical constituents related to the stratospheric ozone problem and to the greenhouse effect. Also on the gondola was TELIS (Terahertz and submillimeter LImbSounder) a helium-cooled three-channel heterodyne spectrometer developed at the DLR Remote Sensing Technology Institute. The present flight was a continuation of a similar mission performed in March 2009 to make time dependent measurement of trace gases and cloud properties in the upper troposphere and stratosphere with various remote sensing techniques inside the chemically activated vortex. Another objective was to perform in-situ validation of Envisat data and coordinated flights with research aircraft that are being part of the Reconcile EU-FP7 Arctic campaign at the Arena Arctica facility in the Kiruna airport.

The balloon opeartions were performed within the framework of the EuroLaunch co-operation between the Swedish Space Corporation in charge of Esrange and DLR/Moraba.

MIPAS-B at University of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg website
http://www.imk-asf.kit.edu/english/533.php

TELIS (DLR site in German)
http://www.dlr.de/caf/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-2745/4163_read-6217/
« Last Edit: 01/25/2010 09:39 PM by Yeknom-Ecaps »

Offline Danderman

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #10 on: 01/30/2010 06:29 PM »
http://jpaerospace.com/away39-42.html

Recent missions from JP Aerospace!

« Last Edit: 01/30/2010 06:30 PM by Danderman »

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #11 on: 02/10/2010 10:26 PM »
Launch of 3 Superpressure Balloons in Seychelles

A pre-Concordiasi test campaign started in the Seychelles on February 8, 2010. 3 super-pressure balloons were launched from Mahé, Seychelles Islands. Two were of the driftsonde type, with dropsondes to be launched on demand to obtain meteorological information. One will contain stratospheric instruments in order to document ozone loss. These balloons will fly in the intertropical belt and provide useful information on the performance of the various components which will be used at the end of the year in Antarctica.

Concordiasi is an international project, currently supported by the following agencies: Météo-France, CNES, IPEV, PNRA, CNRS/INSU, NSF, NCAR, Concordia consortium, University of Wyoming, Purdue University and University of Colorado. ECMWF also contributes to the project through computer resources and support, and scientific expertise. Concordiasi is part of the THORPEX-IPY cluster within the International Polar Year effort.


Two field experiments are part of Concordiasi, one which has occurred during the autumn 2008 (Austral spring) in Antarctica and a second one planned in Austral spring 2010.
Additional in-situ measurements include radiosoundings at the Concordia station at Dome C and at Dumont d'Urville in 2008 and high altitude balloons able to drop dropsondes, launched on demand under a parachute and measuring atmospheric parameters on their way down over Antarctica in 2010.
Data can be accessed at the following address http://www.cnrm.meteo.fr/concordiasi-dataset/

Numerical simulations will use the field experiment data. The main goal is to provide validation data to improve the usage of polar-orbiting satellite data over Antarctica, in particular IASI radiances.
On board the European satellite MetOp-A launched in October 2006, IASI is a sounder instrument measuring the infrared spectrum with an improved accuracy for temperature and humidity sounding in the troposphere and stratosphere. The other areas of interest are the fine scale meteorological and climatic studies of the Antarctic plateau, the study of the influence of better polar area predictions over lower latitudes and over the ozone simulation, together with the monitoring of the polar vortex at the end of winter, thanks to additional stratospheric measurements. Working towards these goals will contribute to establish a sustainable observing system for climate over Antarctica, taking into account the potential of advanced sounders such as IASI.

 from: http://www.lmd.polytechnique.fr/VORCORE/McMurdoE.htm


Follow on Google Earth (http://www.lmd.polytechnique.fr/VORCORE/cciasi_ge.htm)
1. Install the last version of Google Earth on your machine (version 5 at least).
2. Download this file on your desktop. (http://www.lmd.polytechnique.fr/VORCORE/Dconcordiasi/cciasi_get.kml)
3. Launch Google Earth.
4. In the Google Earth menu "File/Open", select the file you just downloaded.
5. Concordiasi balloons should appear in Google Earth...
At the end of the session, Google Earth suggests to save the "temporary places" as "preferred places". Accept: you can now delete the file on the desktop. Concordiasi will be there again the next time you launch Google Earth !

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #12 on: 02/22/2010 09:34 PM »
Three pre-Concordiasi Balloons now in flight

On Febraury 19 the second balloon of the "pre-Concordiasi" technological campaign was launched from the Airport of Mahe, Seychelles Islands, this time carrying a scientific payload devoted to study the ozone depletion and composed of two instruments: a particle counter built at the University of Wyoming, and an ozone sensor developed at the Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique in France. This is the first time that these two instruments were launched together.

On February 22 the third balloon of "pre-Concordiasi" was launched. It carried a driftsonde payload, with dropsondes to be ejected by telecommand. The driftsonde system main goal is to obtain meteorological information on low explored zones. This balloon has a payload similar to the one launched on Febraury 8 that kicked off the campaign (see Feb 8 launch image).

The February 8th balloon is still aloft.

The path of the three balloons in flight can be followed in almost real-time using the "Google Earth" program. The instructions to do so are at the http://www.lmd.polytechnique.fr/VORCORE/cciasi_ge.htm web page or see previous post. Nevertheless, if you don't have Google Earth look-up, a static map of the path of each of the balloons can be seen by going to the http://www.lmd.polytechnique.fr/VORCORE/pre_cciasi_balloon.php web page.

Pre-Concordiasi page at LMD web site: http://www.lmd.polytechnique.fr/VORCORE/McMurdoE.htm

Concordiasi official site at MeteoFrance server: http://www.cnrm.meteo.fr/concordiasi/

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #13 on: 03/10/2010 03:01 AM »
Getting Ready Down-Under

After an absence of near seven years, the big stratospheric balloons return to the center of Australia. Since the first days of Febraury, a bunch of scientists and technicians from United States had " flooded" the renewed facilities of the Australian Balloon Launch Station located in the north sector of the Alice Springs Airport. They will take part in the first campaign held at the site since the last launches (devoted to test an early design of the ULDB balloon carrying also an experiment called "Nightglow") performed by NASA's balloon program in 2003.

Between 8 and 12 of February sea containers arrived at Alice Springs with the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) outfitting materials and equipment. That also included an air shipment to transport equipment coming from the Long Duration Balloon (LDB) facility in Antarctica. That same week the CSBF technical crew arrived and almost immediately started the wiring of the main services (telephone, internet, power, and so on) in both the old and new integration buildings, and the installation of the telemetry station. These tasks were all completed completed by 26 February, as well as the setup of UPS units in all areas and the installation of the Telemetry antenna.

Next step was to return to an operational status several launch items that were stored permanently in Alice Springs such as the launch spool, the balloon trailer and the movable crane that will be act as launch vehicle.

The campaign will include three launches, for the benefit of several Universities in the United States. The first team to arrive to the base was from the University of California, Riverside in charge of TIGRE (Tracking and Imaging Gamma Ray Experiment) a Compton telescope of new design. It is composed of layers of double sided silicon strip detectors that detect charged particles passing through the detector, and layers of cadmium zinc telluride strip detectors. This configuration allows TIGRE to detect large angle Compton scatter events, greatly enhancing the instrument's efficiency, and providing the ability to perform as a gamma-ray polarimeter.

This will be the second flight of TIGRE after a first engineering flight performed at Fort Sumner, NM in 2007. As far as we know, TIGRE is assigned the first place in the launch list. After the payload surface shipment arrived to Alice Springs the science group started the integration process which is being completed now. A first probable date for launch is the last week of March.

The second team to arrive at the field was from the California Institute of Technology in charge of the NCT (Nuclear Compton Telescope) which is another Compton telescope but with a diffrent aproach than TIGRE: NCT uses twelve 3D imaging, high spectral resolution germanium detectors enclosed on the sides and bottom by an active bismuth germanate well. The core of its working principle is that measuring the position and energy of the interactions of a photon that enters the instrument with high precision, it can be reconstructed through the Compton formula to determine the initial photon direction to within an annulus on the sky. The main goal of the team for the third flight of this instrument will be to observe the Galactic center.

The major part of the payload traveled all the way from United States by ship, but the core of the instrument, the Cryostat arrived in Sidney via a plane with Eric Bellm, a undergraduate student of the NCT project, who made the 3 day trip to Alice Springs to carry it safely.

The last team to set foot on the base was from the Marshall Space Flight Center, responsible for HERO (High Energy Replicated Optics), the first X-Ray telescope aimed to obtain focused images of astronomical X-ray sources at hard X-ray energies (20-75 keV). The key components are the optics, which are full-shell electroformed-nickel-replicated mirrors coated with iridium to enhance high-energy reflectivity. Although the payload reached Melbourne, it was not possible to send it from there to Alice Springs due to the bad weather conditions in the area. Also the zone of Alice Spring was hit by severe storms that provoked some flooding around the city, delaying a bit the arrival of the helium cilynders coming from Darwin (in the north part of the country). Initially the shipment was meant to be sent to Alice Springs by rail, but the line was closed in several points after the storm and was necessary to switch to road transportation.

"Dispatches from the Field" a BLOG by Eric Bellm of the NCT team:
http://goneballooning.wordpress.com/
« Last Edit: 03/10/2010 03:05 AM by Yeknom-Ecaps »

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #14 on: 03/14/2010 10:53 PM »
Russia allows SSC to have Stratosperic Overflights

During the recent visit of Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to Russia, both countries signed several cooperation agreements. One of special interest for the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) was the one, signed March 9, that allows balloons launched from SSC's ESRANGE launch base, located near Kiruna in the Arctic circle zone, to make circumpolar flights that overfly Russian territory. This is indeed great news for the international scientific ballooning community.

"Balloon flights with longer duration that have been possible so far, are something that many scientists have requested, this agreement will make it available and also, it will further strengthen our position as the leading balloon launch service provider in the northern hemisphere" declared to Mr. Lennart Poromaa, General manager of SSC's Science Services Division.

Circumpolar flights during the winter, when the winds in the stratosphere blow from the West, have been performed from Kiruna for many years. The image with this post is of the Russian military showing a payload recovered near the Urals. It had been launched from ESRANGE several days before.

Those flights included missions to circle the Arctic pole several times on long duration balloon flights that penetrated deep into Russian territory, and began in the early 70's until they ended at the end of the 90's when Russian authorities refused to allow this kind of long duration flights anymore. The recent development of Transatlantic flights with NASA with flights from Kiruna to Canada in the summer helped to regain some long duration capability, that now can be fully exploited both in summer and winter months.

This change of attitude seems to end the historical mistrust dating from the pre-satellite cold war days, when the US Military used hundred of stratospheric balloons to spy on the territory of the former Soviet Union, something that Sweden scientists experienced first-hand when, in 1985, a runaway balloon launched from ESRANGE entered the territory of the former Soviet Union and was shoot down by fighters near the Finnish border.
« Last Edit: 03/14/2010 10:55 PM by Yeknom-Ecaps »

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #15 on: 04/08/2010 09:46 PM »
David Simons Obituary 6/7/1922 - 4/5/2010

One of the pioneers of early space exploration, Dr. David G. Simons, passed away on April 5, 2010. Dr. Simons, a former United States Air Force Flight Surgeon, was chief scientist for Project Manhigh in the 1950s and piloted the program's second flight to a record-setting altitude of 102,400 feet above sea level.

A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, Simons came from a family of physicians. His father, Sam, and Uncles Ike and John, all of them doctors, ran the Simons Medical Clinic on Duke Street in Lancaster. His brother Will, a dentist, also practiced at the clinic. Simons completed his undergraduate work at the Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, then entered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and performed a 15-month rotating internship at Lancaster General Hospital. His father had also attended the Jefferson Medical College, and it was generally taken for granted that David G. Simons, M. D., would join the family clinic.

Simons received support for this education through the Army Specialist Training Program and had a two-year service obligation when he finished his internship. As a youth, he spent a great deal of time with Hiram Walker, a part-time student at Franklin and Marshall College who worked as a medical technician at his family's medical clinic. Walker was a licensed ham radio operator who instilled a fascination for radio and electronics in the young Simons.

Despite his heavy course load at Jefferson Medical College and the demands of his internship, he found time to learn Morse code with an eye towards earning a radio operators' license. At the time, though, use of amateur radios was banned due to the Second World War. Later, Simons secured permission to set up a radio station at Lancaster Hospital. He also studied astronomy in his off-duty hours.

When he entered the Army Air Force as a First Lieutenant on August 17, 1947, Simons asked for an assignment that combined his medical training with his interest in electronics. This led to his being assigned to the Aero Medical Laboratory at Wright Field and his work with Dr. James P. Henry, who headed the Laboratory Acceleration Section. Promoted to Captain in 1948, Simons designed and built electronic devices for the laboratory centrifuge. He soon discovered he preferred a career in scientific research rather than medical practice, so he decided to stay in the Air Force.

One day, Dr. Henry asked Simons if he thought man would ever go to the moon. In college, Simons had read articles about space travel and answered he believed it certainly was possible. Henry continued, "Well, what would you think of having an opportunity to help us put a monkey in a captured V-2 rocket that would be exposed to about two minutes of weightlessness and measure the physiological response to weightlessness?" After Simons' enthusiastic and unqualified yes, Henry appointed him Project Officer for the first attempt to launch a primate into space. Henry and Simons selected a nine-pound American-born Rhesus monkey for their passenger. Someone in the Wright Field Parachute Branch nicknamed the monkey "Albert," and the name stuck.

The Albert I capsule was oddly shaped and the monkey was in a very awkward position, with his chin against his chest. The launch was set for June 11, 1948. Data recorded during the flight indicated Albert probably suffocated before launch due to the cramped position. The parachute failed, so in any event, Albert would not have survived the flight. Simons and Henry redesigned the capsule and tried again on June 14, 1949. Again, the parachute failed, but data indicated Albert II survived until impact.

After the second Albert flight, Captain Simons attended the Air Force Advanced Course in Aviation Medicine at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas and became a certified flight surgeon in 1950. Following a tour of duty in Japan during the Korean War as Base Surgeon at Yakota Air Force Base, he briefly returned to the Aero Medical Laboratory before being assigned to the Aeromedical Field Laboratory (AMFL) at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Simons took charge of the cosmic radiation research program at the AMFL. He used polyethylene balloons to carry small animals and biological specimens to altitudes of 100,000 feet or more to expose them to cosmic radiation. By 1955, after dozens of flights, Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Stapp (commanding officer of the AMFL) asked Simons if he was ready to try a high altitude flight with a human test subject. This became Project Manhigh.

Officially, the justification for Manhigh was the design of a prototype space capsule, but Simons always kept his focus on the biological effects of cosmic radiation. He worked closely with Winzen Research, Inc, the project contractor, to design the Manhigh capsule. For its day, the capsule was an incredible piece of engineering - a sealed cabin that could sustain a pilot for 24 hours in a space-equivalent environment.

After a test flight by Air Force Captain Joseph W. Kittinger, Simons piloted the second flight himself. This was a 24-hour flight with a 3-million cubic foot balloon to 100,000 feet. Throughout his flight, Simons had a full agenda of scientific observations to perform. He took off early in the morning on August 19, 1957, from an open pit iron mine in Crosby, Minnesota. He reached a peak altitude of 102,400 feet above sea level. Simons spent the day floating above 100,000 feet. The next morning, a line of thunderstorms that moved in during the night forced him to delay his landing. Simons remained aloft until 5:32 PM CDT. His flight had lasted more than 32 hours, by which time electrical power in the capsule had reached critical levels and carbon dioxide was building up in the cabin. Manhigh II was hailed as a brilliant accomplishment and Simons appeared on the cover of Life magazine.

The final flight of the program, Manhigh III, took place on October 8, 1958. Lieutenant Clifton C. McClure reached 99,700 feet. After Manhigh III, Simons was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, where he headed the Bioastronautics Branch. During Project Mercury, Simons served as a medical monitor and supported the first American manned space flights.

Simons retired from the Air Force in 1965 as a Lieutenant Colonel and turned his attention to another line of research - the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain. He co-authored The Trigger Point Manual, the first definitive textbook on the diagnosis and management of myofascial pain. Dr. Simons went on to author more than 200 publications about trigger points and chronic pain management and became an internationally recognized authority on the subject.

He was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1987, which was when this author had the honor of meeting him. He was not one to rest on his laurels and was more interested in being recognized for his current research in the treatment of chronic pain than he was for his past contributions to space exploration. Twenty years later, our paths crossed again at the 50th anniversary celebration of Manhigh II, which was held in Crosby. At the ceremony that was held on the day of the anniversary, his keynote address was titled "The Messenger Is Not the Message". Dr. Simons sought to downplay his own role in Manhigh and instead wanted to emphasize the science and knowledge that was gained. However, if not for his insight, personal courage and commitment to research, the scientific results would never have been achieved.

Dr. Simons never fully retired. At the time of his death, he was living in Covington, Georgia, USA, and was a Professor at Emory University and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Augustine. He was also fully engaged in the latest revision of The Trigger Point Manual.

Dr. Simons obituary was written by Gregory P. Kennedy - an internationally known expert and writer in aerospace history.

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #16 on: 04/16/2010 11:07 PM »
TIGRE launched from Australia!!!!!

Watch LIVE video from TIGRE at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/csbf-operations (be patient it takes a while for the live feed to start).

In a campaign that is developing slower than anticipated, NASA launched the first stratospheric balloon of the fall campaign (southern hemisphere) in the Australian Balloon Launch Station located in the Seven Mile area of the Alice Spring airport in the center of the island. This is the first launch effort carried out by NASA and the University of New South Wales after an interlude of seven years. The last campaign held at the site (devoted to test an early design of the ULDB balloon also carrying an experiment called "Nightglow") was performed by NASA's balloon program in 2003.

The launch occured in the morning of April 16 and according to sources of another scientific team in the field, the balloon reached float altitude flawlessly. The balloon was quite an spectacle for the people of the city as the slow moving stratospheric winds had it hovering in the neighborhood for a while.

Below is an image of the balloon at float obtained by Eric Bellm using a theodolite (hence the black line from the instrument's centering marks). He is a member of the NCT team (the next instrument in the launch row) who is informing the world of the ongoings of the campaign in the outback through his awesome blog Dispatches from the Field (http://goneballooning.wordpress.com/).

A video of the launch can be seen in the coverage of the launch made by the Australian Broadscating Corporation.

The balloon (nomenclated as mission 611N under the records of the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility), carried onboard and instrument developed by the University of California, Riverside known as TIGRE (Tracking and Imaging Gamma Ray Experiment). It is a Compton telescope of new design, composed of layers of double sided silicon strip detectors that detect charged particles passing through it, and several complementary layers of cadmium zinc telluride strip detectors. This configuration allows TIGRE to record large angle Compton scatter events, greatly enhancing the instrument's efficiency, and providing the ability to perform as a gamma-ray polarimeter. This is the second flight of TIGRE after a first engineering flight performed at Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 2007.

The flight is expected to have a duration of nearly 48 hours. The landing place would be near the city of Longreach, in Queensland. Where there is the downrange telemetry station, transferred from Newman last week, when the change in the stratospheric winds showed a eastward flight path.
« Last Edit: 04/16/2010 11:07 PM by Yeknom-Ecaps »

Offline sanman

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #17 on: 04/17/2010 02:41 PM »
Hey, hope I'm not hijacking this thread, but in the wake of India's GSLV-D3 launch failure, there are concerns that the ground testing regime was not comprehensive enough to include testing under vacuum conditions.

I've since read that NASA has facilities like Plum Brooks in Ohio, and ESA has facilities like P4 in Germany to do this kind of rigorous engine testing under vacuum conditions.

I want to know if this kind of testing could be done more cheaply and efficiently by sending up an engine test rig aboard a giant balloon to very high altitude. After all, what could be more realistic than that?

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #18 on: 04/19/2010 12:23 AM »
Just a guess that it would be possible to launch such an engine rig and the vaccuum effect would be correct but the force of the engine firing except for, maybe, a couple of second burn could not be handled by the flight mechanics (cabling, balloon material itself, etc.) as the payloads are expected to float.

Conversely, a number of "flight" tests have been performed this way including multiple flights to test the concept of a Mars airplane. One such Mars airplane is University of Kentucky's BIG BLUE project (Baseline Inflatable Glider Balloon-Launched Unmanned Experiment).

BIG BLUE links:
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_Learning_to_Fly_on_Mars.html
http://www.engr.uky.edu/bigblue/

BIG BLUE photo credits: Univ of Kentucky

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #19 on: 04/19/2010 12:29 AM »
TIGRE flight ends -

(LAUNCH VIDEO: http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201004/r550322_3252766.asx)

ABC News Article: Giant NASA balloon lands in outback
By Chrissy Arthur


Scientists are trying to recover a massive NASA balloon and several tonnes of equipment that drifted into outback Queensland over the weekend.

The 300-metre balloon was launched recently from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to gather data about the universe.

The balloon is the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and carries two tonnes of equipment used to study outer space phenomena.

Launch director Associate Professor Ravi Sood says it landed without incident near Longreach in central western Queensland on Sunday afternoon.

"About 70 kilometres south of Longreach very close to a farm track, so we should have our recovery people there some time this morning," he said.

"The balloon landed separately - the balloon landed about 20 kilometres west of where the instrument and the parachute impacted."

Associate Professor Sood says overall the exercise was a success, considering its magnitude.

"The equipment was just about two tonnes - then there was about a tonne of ballast and the balloon weighed about two tonnes - we had a gross lift of about four or five tonnes," he said.

"It was spectacularly successful ... the whole flight was flawless and that's a great credit to the team that comes out from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Texas."

He says some residents may have thought the balloon was a UFO.


Photo Credit: ABC News Article
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/04/19/2876085.htm?site=northwest&section=news
« Last Edit: 04/19/2010 12:35 AM by Yeknom-Ecaps »

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #20 on: 04/23/2010 03:20 PM »
Succesful drop test of the CIRA Unmanned Space Vehicle-2 "Polluce"


The second flight of the USV (Unmanned Space Vehicle). The model was transported by a stratospheric balloon launched from the Tortoli-Arbatax airport in Sardignia at 8:45 local time on April 11. The image below is the test plane hanging from the big crane that acted as launch vehicle. The launch window opened last January, but adverse weather forced to cancel the test several times.

The launch operation proceeded flawlessly: after finishing the inflation process, the balloon (measuring 340.000 cubic meter of volume) was released, elevating the space plane model in a slow ascent while at the same time the prevailing westerly winds pushed it out to sea. About an hour after launch the balloon reached float altitude of 24 km, and entered in a no fly/no navigation zone under the control of the Poligono Interforze di Salto di Quirra (PISQ). There, at aproximately 10:15 the model was released starting a free fall phase during which it attained a speed close to 1.2 Mach, performing several maneuvers and recording millions of bytes of data. After a fall of 140 seconds, the parachute opening sequence began which led the plane to a safe splash down in the Ocean 10 minutes later. After completion of the free fall phase, the balloon, still in flight, was terminated and the gondola that served of "hook" for the USV vehicle was separated from it, hitting the ocean surface under his own parachute at 11:10.

The next phase was the recovery of the plane. The Italian Military Navy using the ship "Tavolara" recovered the USV from the Ocean at 17:30.

According to the first press release from CIRA (Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali) -the Italian aerospace center in charge of the project- unlike occured in the first mission in 2007 when the twin vehicle "CASTORE" broke apart when it upon spashdown, this time "POLLUCE" was found completely undamaged and fully functional.

The objective of this second mission was the acquisition of flight data in a phase particularly critical and deserving of further study: the trans-sonic flight. Also were included two scientific experiments onboard - one consisted in the use of a MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical System) based sensor device to record acceleration data during USV flight and splashdown phases and the other designed by some high school students in Puglia, aimed at detecting the opacity of the atmosphere related to the presence of aerosols.

Another test from a balloon is expected in the near future with "POLLUCE" before a first mission of a more advanced model using a VEGA launcher as vector for a suborbital reentry.

Photo credits: CIRA

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #21 on: 04/28/2010 02:11 AM »
Kick off for techno-scientific campaign at ESRANGE

On April 4, a new stratospheric balloon launch campaign carried out by the Balloon Division of the French Space Agency CNES began. The campaign will continue through May and will have a dual purpose: on one side the launch of several scientific instruments related essentially to atmospheric sciences, and ion the other side several technological missions devoted mainly to validate technology - a new flight termination system, to test a pointing system and the verification of a new balloon developed by the French firm Zodiac signs. The launches are conducted from the Esrange base run by the Swedish Space Corporation near the town of Kiruna, in northern Sweden.

So far there have been four flights out of a total of ten originally planned. The first two corresponded to the ELHYSA hygrometer operated by the French Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement, which was launched as opening flight of the campaign on April 4 and once again on April 9. The other two missions - both technological - were carried out respectively on April 11 and April 21, using Zodiac balloons of 100,000 cubic meters of volume.

As for the upcoming scientific flights, the instruments remaining to be launched include: LPMA (Limb Profile Monitor of the Atmosphere - SWIR) a Fourier transform spectrometer in the configuration of short-wave infrared observation (SWIR: Shortwave Infrared), and ISAO/SP2/LDLE a multi-instrumental mission that will include a light version of the SAOZ spectrometer and two different types of sondes to measure atmospheric electricity.

It is noteworthy that on each of the scientific flights there will be included onboard as a "piggy back" payload the STAC instrument that measures the concentration of aerosols between the high troposphere and the middle stratosphere.

More information: http://www.ssc.se/?id=14311
Photo Credit: CNES

Offline eeergo

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #22 on: 04/30/2010 04:24 PM »
There has been an accident with one of these balloons, lofted by NASA, which barely got off the ground and just slammed into a car, destroying it and, most importantly, all the valuable payloads it was carrying.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2010/04/nasa-balloon-crashes-on-take-off-in-australia-destroying-telescope/1

Check out the amazing video:

-DaviD-

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #23 on: 04/30/2010 05:54 PM »
This was the payload:
http://www.ssl.berkeley.edu/gamma/nct.html

The news reports so far are just about worthless as far as conveying to the public what this mission was about and recognizing that launching a lighter-than-air craft 4 times the volume of the Hindenburg isn't like letting go of a mylar balloon from the fair. Fortunately, the space.com article is decent:

http://www.space.com/news/nasa-balloon-telescope-crash-100429.html

It's hard to speculate what happened not being very familiar with balloon operations myself, but it looks to me like the gondola was released prematurely, either due to a mistake or due to an apparent wind overloading the crane supporting the gondola.

And obviously they should not have been letting spectators park downwind from the balloon.

Would this be a more appropriate topic for either the live news or the US launchers forums? After all, it's a US payload handled by a NASA facility.

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #24 on: 04/30/2010 09:15 PM »
Some theories proposed so far:

Theory #1: "...First, it appears that the winds were too strong at mid- and upper-levels on the balloon and flight train. Second, the alignment of the crane/launch vehicle appears to be at least ninety degrees off the wind direction and turning more away from the wind. This compounded the wind speed problem. Third, the balloon apparently had not reached equilibrium nor had it achieved lift. But had they not released it from the crane when they did, it would have turned the crane over on its side. That is apparent from the pendulum arch the payload took as it came off the crane and impacted the ground..."

Theory #2: "...In order for a balloon to lift a very heavy payload to the stratosphere, it requires a very large balloon with a lot of helium. The large amount of helium causes the balloon to rise very quickly when it is released. Any change in the wind causes big problems for the crew to align the launch vehicle correctly before the balloon starts to pull on the payload. It is apparent that the balloon got in front of the payload before the launch vehicle could get in the correct alignment for a good launch. The balloon apparently tore the payload off of the launch vehicle. With the balloon ahead of the payload, the payload did a pendulum motion hitting the ground and dragging before the parachute could be released from the balloon by command..."


Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #26 on: 05/07/2010 11:19 PM »
Quick updates!

Four more balloons were launched from the Swedish base of ESRANGE, in the last two weeks.

The first scientific flight took place on April 25 transporting the LPMA/SWIR gondola while the second devoted to the ISAO multi-instrument experience was flown on April 29.

The other two flights, both devoted to perform technological testings were launched on May 3 and 6.

All flights were succesful.

Offline StratoCat

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #27 on: 05/11/2010 03:40 PM »
I wish to say thank you to user Yeknom-Ecaps for posting a great amount of the information I publish almost daily in StratoCat my website devoted to stratospheric balloons. It's a great publicity indeed !

But I'm afraid that maybe he forgot to mention the source, but here is:

http://stratocat.com.ar/indexe.html

The project started 5 years ago, and currently is the only website devoted to follow up -outside the main agencies- the ongoings on this field.

Thank you so much

Best Regards

Luis E. Pacheco
StratoCat's Webmaster

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #28 on: 05/12/2010 09:42 PM »
Great success for pre-Concordiasi campaign

Two of the three balloon flights launched on last Febraury from the Airport of Mahe, in Seychelles Islands, were terminated in the last couple of days.

According to the information received, the balloon launched on Febraury 19 (nomenclated as PSC1) was terminated over the Indian Ocean on May 8 after 78 days of flight, being followed three days later by the MSD1 balloon which originally was launched on Febraury 8. The later flight ended somewhere over the Sea of China achieving a total flight time of 91 days.

The only balloon flight that is still in progress, MSD2, could be terminated in late May. Both the scientific instruments and their associated systems (e.g. solar panels) performed flawlessly during all the flights.

The objective of the campaign -which in fact ended a few days after the last launch in Febraury- was to fly these balloons in the inter-tropical belt to provide useful information on the performance of the various scientific instruments and complementary components like solar panels and so on, which later will be used during the full fledged Concordiasi campaign meant to launch 20 balloons, from McMurdo station in Antarctica next October.

The balloons were all 12 meters in diameter, of the superpressure type (closed cells), which after achieving their float altitude of 20 kms, remain aloft in more or less the same altitude along his whole useful life. The payloads carried by PSC1 were a ozone photometer developed by the Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique a particle counter developed by the University of Wyoming, and humidity and temperature sensors while MSD's payloads were composed by the CNES service gondolas (also present in the PSC1), the humidity and temperature sensors and a driftsonde gondola carrying up to 40 dropsondes, containing each of them sensors to measure temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction. At will of the scientists of the project whom are monitoring the flight from the Balloon Control Centre at Toulouse Space Centre in France, a signal is sent to drop a sonde, which descends slowly with a parachute and sends measurements back to the gondola twice every second. The gondola then transmits the information to a satellite, which in turn relays it back to Toulouse.

Patrick Ragazzo from CNES provided info to source: http://stratocat.com.ar/indexe.html

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #29 on: 05/12/2010 10:06 PM »
French campaign continues in the Arctic

The stratospheric balloon launch campaign carried out by the Balloon Division of the French Space Agency CNES the Swedish base of Esrange is progressing at full steam. Since our last update 20 days ago, four more balloons were launched, two of them with scientific objectives and the remaining with technological aims.

 
The first mission of this phase of the campaign was launched at 6:54 utc on April 25 under a balloon measuring 400.000 m3. The instrument onboard was LPMA (Limb Profile Monitor of the Atmosphere) whose core is a Fourier transform Infra Red spectrometer mounted on a gondola with a very precise pointing system. In the configuration flown in this mission -called SWIR- the instrument made nadir measurements of the thermal atmospheric emission of the surface/atmosphere system in order to calibrate and validate measurements obtained by the GOSAT satellite. After a flight of eight hours the payload landed north of Porttipahdan Tekojarvi lake, in Finland.

On April 29 a 35.000 m3 balloon was launched at 17:29 utc carriying several instruments. The main payload consisted of Mini-SAOZ - the first a new light version of the SAOZ spectrometer in its first test flight, and ISAO CE - an improved and lighter version of the ISAO electric field probe. Also were part of the flight train was SP2 a new frost-point hygrometer using a surface acoustic wave sensor which was designed to work on future long duration superpressure-balloon flights and LDLE (Lunar Dust Lifting Experiment) a set of two electric field antennas, that use different principles for the measurement of electric fields. The flight lasted eight hours and the payload was recovered 20 km east of Kautokeino in Norway.

These two scientific flights included a "piggy back" payload - the STAC instrument - that measures the concentration of aerosols between the high troposphere and the middle stratosphere.

At 6:40 utc on May 3 the third technological mission was launched - no details released so far - using a 12.000 m3 Zodiac balloon totaling a flight time of about 90 minutes and was terminated north of Esrange. Finally, the more recent mission was carried out on May 6 when at 14:35 utc another 12sf balloon was launched that after a flight time of 2 hours delivered his payload in a point NE of Vittangijarvi Lake, in Sweden.

Source: http://stratocat.com.ar/indexe.html

Source Images: CNES

More information (French): http://www.cnes.fr/web/CNES-fr/8505-gp-la-campagne-ballons-continue-a-kiruna.php

Offline bolun

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Re: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons
« Reply #30 on: 04/25/2017 11:43 AM »
CNES stratospheric balloons. Three major flight campaigns 2017

Three major stratospheric science balloon campaigns are planned this year to fly novel astrophysics experiments in the field of Universe science. CNES and French research laboratories have acquired world-renowned expertise in stratospheric ballooning and associated science instrument payloads.

Three major stratospheric science balloon flight campaigns—Austral 2017, EUSO Balloon and FIREBALL—in preparation at CNES are set to make this year an exceptional one for astrophysics ballooning.

Austral 2017 has just got underway in the southern hemisphere. Teams from CNES and the IRAP astrophysics and planetology research are putting the finishing touches to the PILOT (Polarized Instrument for LOng wavelengTh) science gondola in Alice Springs, Australia. The science goal is to measure the polarized emission of interstellar dust grains in order to map the direction of our galaxy’s magnetic field, thus paving the way for future cosmology missions. After a first successful campaign in the northern hemisphere in 2015, PILOT is ready to launch again as soon as weather conditions are right.

EUSO Balloon, a second innovative exploratory mission, has also started in Wanaka, New Zealand. EUSO (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) is designed to validate a technique for detecting ultra-high-energy cosmic rays penetrating Earth’s atmosphere. The aim is to test the prototype of an ultra-sensitive, ultra-fast optical instrument, to measure background ultraviolet radiation and to attempt to detect air showers for the first time. The first EUSO flight was accomplished in August 2014 from Timmins in Canada with a 400,000-m3 CNES stratospheric balloon to an altitude of 40 kilometres. For this second flight, EUSO will be carried aloft by a 532,000-m3 U.S. superpressure balloon (SPB) for an expected 100 days.

Lastly, the FIREBALL mission (Faint Intergalactic Redshifted Emission Balloon) to study the warm-hot intergalactic medium (WHIM) is set to fly from Fort Sumner in New Mexico this September. The intergalactic medium is the source of gas from which galaxies are born and grow. The energy released by this hot gas, thought to account for 50% of ordinary matter in the cosmos, is extremely tenuous and can therefore only be measured by highly innovative instruments. The FIREBALL project is being led by Caltech and the LAM astrophysics laboratory in Marseille, which has extensive expertise in UV balloon astronomy and is supplying the complete spectrograph. The CNES balloon team is supplying the gondola and NASA will be conducting the flight with a 830,000-m3 balloon.

https://presse.cnes.fr/en/cnes-stratospheric-balloons-three-major-flight-campaigns-2017-exceptional-astrophysics-experiments

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