In 1969 Brazil's National Institute of Space Research (known as Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais or INPE) established a stratospheric balloon launch division named "Setor de Lançamento de Baloes" (SLB) to meet the needs of Brazilian scientists through a nationwide scientific balloon programme who still today is unique in the region. Also, that infrastructure is available for use by either foreign scientists or through cooperative campaigns with other agencies and universities around the world.

Initially, between 1973 and 1982 launches took place from Sao Jose dos Campos where are located INPE's technical and administrative headquarters. There were laboratories for assembly, integration and testing of scientific payloads and a climatic room for testing the functioning of the circuits at various pressures and temperatures.

At that time, the area used for balloon launches was a soccer field located within the perimeter of the base, as seen in the photo at right, graciously ceded to StratoCat by Mr. Nilton B. Reno, who was involved in many of these launches as a technical staff of the agency.

The first launch of a stratospheric balloon by scientists in Brazil took place there in June 1968, carrying a payload of 30 kg to study the stratospheric X-rays. The balloon finished it's flight in Southafrica, after crossing the Atlantic Ocean. After this first successful experiment, there was a peak of activity during the first half of the 70's as well in the second half of the same decade. Finally, after two last flights in January 1982, the balloons began to be launched from new facilities located in Cachoeira Paulista as well from alternative sites in any of the numerous airfields located throughout the entire country.

Table of balloons launched from Sao Jose dos Campos

DateHourFlight DurationExperimentPayload landing place or cause of the failure
6/23/1968 ---STRATOSPHERIC X-RAYS MEASUREMENTSNear Pretoria, Southafrica
7/23/1968 ---X-RAY DETECTOR--- No Data ---
4/21/19716:17 utc3 h 36 mX-RAY DETECTORSão Luís do Paraitinga, Sao Paulo, Brazil
12/17/1971 ---CHARGED PARTICLES DETECTOR--- No Data ---
4/6/1972 ---CHARGED PARTICLES DETECTOR--- No Data ---
2/10/197309:074 hTELEMETRY AND TELECOMMAND TESTIn Nova Fátima - Paraná
2/19/197308:515 hNEUTRONSIn Cornelio Procópio - Paraná
2/22/197313:024 hNEUTRONSIn Maringá - Paraná
2/26/197322:035 hOLNIn Martinópolis - Sao Paulo
3/1/197306:146 hBERENICEbetween Monteiro Lobato and Colorado - Paraná
3/8/197306:291.1 hBERENICEIn Roseira - Sao Paulo
3/9/197309:257 hNEUTRONSIn Jacarezinho - Paraná
3/10/197303:249 hSPARK CHAMBER TELESCOPEIn Rolandia - Paraná
3/14/197302:559 hX-RAY ASTRONOMYIn Assis - Sao Paulo
3/16/197304:151 hGAMMA RAY ASTRONOMYIn Taubaté - Sao Paulo
3/20/197304:349 hGALAXIEIn Canaéia - Paraná
3/22/197303:0411 hSPARK CHAMBER TELESCOPEIn Rolandia - Paraná
10/7/197308:342 hCHARGED PARTICLESIn Ilha grande - Rio de Janeiro
10/20/197307:1210 hCHARGED PARTICLESIn Andrelandia - Minas Gerais
10/2/197411:292.3 hTRAINING FLIGHT AND TELEMETRY TESTIn Cunha - Sao Paulo
10/8/197409:577 hTEST OF RADIOACTIVE SONDE--- No Data ---
10/24/197407:226 hTECHNOLOGICAL FLIGHTIn Franco da Rocha - Sao Paulo
11/14/197406:047 hPAYLOAD UNKNOWN--- No Data ---
11/25/197404:3010 hPAYLOAD UNKNOWNIn Jaboticabal - Sao Paulo
12/20/197409:5410 hCOMGATE (Compton Gamma Ray Telescope)In Timburi - Sao Paulo
11/24/197710:21~ 4 hTECHNOLOGICAL FLIGHTIn Natividade da Serra - Sao Paulo
12/27/197701:00~ 6 hTECHNOLOGICAL FLIGHTPayload not recuperable.
2/24/197805:14~ 3 hTECHNOLOGICAL FLIGHTIn Piracicaba - Sao Paulo
3/17/197805:4630 mTECHNOLOGICAL FLIGHTIn Santa Izabel - Sao Paulo
11/29/197805:316 hXGAPIn Bom Jesus dos Perdoes - Sao Paulo
12/11/197807:412 hXGAP2In Moreira Cesar - Sao Paulo
12/15/19787:43 utc---XGAP3Separation mechanism failure. Payload lost.
3/15/197905:227 hSOURCEIn Sao Jorge - Paraná
3/31/197904:327 hSOURCE IIIn Cosmópolis - Sao Paulo
4/14/198105:48 utc5 hELECTRIC FIELDIn Caraguatatuba - Sao Paulo
11/28/198120:587 hMASER 24,5 ghzIn Manuel - Sao Paulo
12/18/19813:00 local5 h 43 mX-RAY DETECTOR--- No Data ---
1/16/1982 ---MASER 24,5 ghzIn Botucatu - Sao Paulo.
1/24/198220:254 hMASER 24,5 ghzIn Santa Branca - Sao Paulo.
1/30/198222:3410 hMASER 24,5 ghzIn Teodoro Sampaio - Sao Paulo.