Author Topic: Near Space - Stratospheric Balloons  (Read 22953 times)

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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