Description of the payload

The instrument, is the first one aimed to obtain focused images of astronomical X-ray sources at hard X-ray energies (20-45 keV).

The key component (the hard X-ray optics) are full-shell electroformed-nickel-replicated (ENR) mirrors coated with iridium to enhance high-energy reflectivity. As the critical grazing angle for reflection varies approximately inversely with energy, these mirrors employ smaller angles than their low-energy counterparts and consequently have smaller diameters and collecting areas per shell. The mirrors have a 6 meter focal length.

To exploit the full potential of the HERO optics necessitates a balloon gondola that can provide commensurate pointing accuracy, stability, and pointing knowledge. The HERO gondola utilizes a coarse aspect system for slewing based on a differential global positioning system (GPS) and a fine inertial-mode pointing system that uses a novel day/night aspect camera system to update onboard gyroscopes.

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome

Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, New Mexico, US  
Balloon launched by: National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven - 39.570.000 cu ft - 0.8 Mil. - SF3-459.37-080-NSXHR-ST
Balloon serial number: W39.57-2-18
Flight identification number: 489N

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission

Detailed view of hero while is hold by the launch vehicle The telescope before ben launched Balloon release Another view of the ballon ascending The balloon at float altitude as seen from ground