Description of the payload

The balloon carried a payload of approximately 3 kg composed of a ARGOS transponder with a GPS board and a Lithium battery pack.

The flight plan called for the balloon reach float altitude and circumnavigate the polar region between 78 and 80 deg. N. Throught the GPS/ARGOS payload the trajectory would be traced showing the stratospheric circulation pattern of stratospheric winds, and providing information about diurnal excursions, and potential termination/impact locations for the future LDB flights.

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome

Launch site: Longyearbyen Airport, Svalbard, Norway  
Balloon launched by: ISTAR (International Science Technology And Research
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon 3000 m3
Flight identification number: PATH-3
Campaign: Arctic LDB Program Development 2003 designed to prove concept for launching larger Long Duration Balloons (LDB) in the future from Svalbard Islands
Payload weight: 3 kg

After two other failures in the same campaign, consultations were made with the balloon manufacturer and the Italian Space Agency. Was decided to do another attempt with the same balloon model, but this time with one more kilogram of weight added to the payload and with even less free lift (12 %) than the last one. The balloon, called PATH-3, was launched on 19 June at 19:30 UT.

The ascent was nominal up to float, but after reaching float altitude, also this started to descend slowly.

The balloon landed approximately 18 hours after launch about 60 km from the launch site.

The payload landed safely, on a glacier, and keep continued to send data via the ARGOS system. It was recovered by helicopter the same day.

(extracted from the report of Kjell Bøen, Head of Operational Services)

This flight returned no usefull information due to early termination.

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission

Detailed view of the GPS device carried by the balloon Launch preparation fron the air strip of the Longyearbyen airport