Description of the payload
TS93 was a balloon-borne magnetic spectrometer designed to measure electrons and positrons in the energy range from 4 to about 50 GeV, being the upper value limited only by the exposure factor.
The instrument design -as many others of those years- was an adaptation of the basic configuration of the Balloon-Borne Magnet Facility (BBMF), a payload developed by New Mexico State University and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to perform research on high energy particles using a magnet spectrometer.
A schematic drawing of the TS93 instrument is shown at left (click to enlarge). It was composed by a single-coil superconducting magnet, providing a magnetic field varying from 0.1 to 2.1 Teslas. The tracking system was formed by a combination of drift chambers (DC) and multiwire proportional chambers (MWPC). The DC subsystem consisted of two DC modules with a hexagonal close-packed structure, which provided 12 measurements in the bending direction (x) and eight in the nonbending direction (y). Eight MWPC layers were used: three above the top DC, three at the center of the magnet between the DCs, and two below the lower DC. This configuration of the spectrometer was the same flown in the IMAX instrument a year before. For TS93, two completely new instruments were added to the magnet spectrometer: a transition radiation detector and a silicon-tungsten imaging calorimeter. These two detectors provided a much better proton rejection factor.
The transition radiation detector was positioned at the top of the sealed gondola and was composed of ten modules, each one made of a carbon fiber radiator followed by a multiwire proportional chamber (MWPC) filled with a mixture of Xenon and Methane. Each radiator consisted of an aluminium frame containing four bags, each filled with carbon fiber segments. The MWPCs were equipped with 256, 3 mm spaced, wires having an active area of 76 X 80 cm2.
The calorimeter was positioned at the bottom of the gondola and was composed of 5 silicon planes, sensitive both in the X and Y coordinates, interleaved with 4 tungsten planes. The sampling layer of the calorimeter was composed by an array of 8 X 8 pairs of detectors. Each sampling layer consisted of two arrays having 128 + 128 readout channels. A built-in system equipped with analog to digital converters and digital processors accomplished the data acquisition.
An aluminium cylindrical gondola measuring 3.67 meters in height and 1,52 meters of diameter enclosed the magnet, detectors and all systems that processed the incoming data.
Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome
Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, Fort Sumner, (NM), US
Balloon launched by: National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon SF3-459.37-080-NSXCHR-ST
Balloon serial number: W39.57-3-02
Flight identification number: 368N
The balloon was launched by dynamic method with assistance of a crane acting as launch vehicle on September 8, 1993.
After an initial ascent phase it reached float altitude of 36 km and maintained a more or less stable altitude during the 25 hours of leveled flight.
During this unique flight of the instrument were obtained near 25 hours of useful scientific data.
External references and bibliographical sources
- TS93 website at Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Tor Vergata
- TS93 website at University of Siegen
- A silicon shower detector for cosmic antimatter search 23th International Cosmic Ray Conference, (Calgary), 2, 508
- Ground Level Cosmic Ray Observations 24th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Vol. 4, p. 1037
- Identification of Cosmic Ray Electrons and Positrons by Neural Networks Astroparticle Physics, Vol.5 (1996) pp. 111-117
- Measurement of the Positron to Electron Ratio in the Cosmic Rays above 5 GeV THE ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 457:L103-L106, 1996 February 1
- NASA Balloon Flights (1989-1998) in NASA Historical Data Book, Vol. VII: NASA Launch Systems, Space Transportation, Human Spaceflight, and Space Science, 1989-1998
- Neural Networks with Stochastic Preprocessing for Particle Recognition in Cosmic Ray Experiments Nuclear Instruments and Methods, A360, 371, 1995
- Observations of Cosmic Ray Positrons during the 1993 Flight of the NMSU/WiZard - TS93 Balloon-Borne Apparatus 24th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Vol. 3, held August 28-September 8, 1995 in Rome, Italy
- Performance of the Transition Radiation Detector Flown on the NMSU/WIZARD TS93 Balloon-Borne Instrument 24th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Vol. 3, held August 28-September 8, 1995 in Rome, Italy
- Silicon calorimeter for cosmic antimatter search Nuclear Instruments and Methods , A333, 560, (1993)
- Study of the combined particle identification capability of a transition radiation detector and a silicon imaging calorimeter during the TS93 balloon flight Astroparticle Physics 7 (1997) 219-230
- The WiZard/CAPRICE Silicon-Tungsten Calorimeter 24th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Vol. 3, p. 661
- Use of Neural Network Techniques to Identify Cosmic Ray Electrons and Positrons during the 1993 Balloon Flight of the NMSU/Wizard-TS93 Instrument 24th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Vol. 3, p. 730
- WiZard Si-W imaging calorimeter: a preliminary study on its particle identification capability during a balloon flight in 1993 Nucl. Inst. and Meth., A360, (1995), 17
Images of the mission