Aerial view of Poços de Caldas airport

The Poços de Caldas municipal airport is located 6 kms from the homonimous city, in the Minas Gerais state. It counts with a paved runway near 1250 meters length by 30 meters, and serves 24 hours a day for domestic civil flights in the region. The airport is located at a height of 1260 meters over mean sea level, so it is considered the highest airstrip of the entire country.

There, between 1987 and 1988 the Setor de Lançamento de Balões (SLB) from the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Brazil's space agency - INPE) made two campaigns to launch stratospheric balloons along with several japanese research institutions. The launches -devoted mainly to study the SN1987A supernova then recently discovered- were performed using a wide strip of grass aside the runway. For payload integration and reparation purposes the agency rented space in the local hanger.

INPE mentioned in several publications Poços de Caldas as an alternate site for balloon launches mainly between October and April when the winds take the balloons over the west of Minas Gerais state or the north of the nearby Sao Paulo state. Nevertheless, we have not records of recent balloon activity there.

(Many thanks to Mr. Nilton B. Renó (SLB/INPE) who made several corrections to this information)

Table of balloons launched from Poços de Caldas Municipal Airport

DateHourFlight DurationExperimentPayload landing place or cause of the failure
10/10/19873:28 utc18 hSUGAR (Supernova Gamma Ray)In Alpinópolis, Minas Gerais, Brazil
11/24/1988 12 hSUPERNOVA 1987 A OBSERVATIONIn Araraquara - Sao Paulo.
11/28/198820:0013 hSUPERNOVA 1987 A OBSERVATIONIn Japiraí - Sao Paulo.
12/3/198823:36---SUPERNOVA 1987 A OBSERVATION - II / COSMIC RAYSPayload lost.