Description of the payload

A suite of instruments designed to measure profiles of over 40 chemical species throughout the stratosphere.

The combined set of data will be analyzed in conjunction with a variety of photochemical models to improve our understanding of stratospheric chemistry and the stability of the ozone layer. Measurements are also used to provide validation for NASA's EOS Aura satellite.

Included in the JPL gondola in this flight was the following instrumentation:

- MkIV interferometer (Fourier Transform InfraRed Interferometer)
- Far Infrared Spectrometer (FIRS-2)
- Stratospheric Limb Sounder (SLS-2)
- Balloon OH terahertz hetrodyne spectrometer (BOH)
- An in-situ O3 photometer
- and an Azimuth control device

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 Raven - 39.570.000 cu ft - (0.8 Mil.)
Balloon serial number: W 39.57-2-51
Flight identification number: 549N
Payload weight: 3680 LBS
Overall weight: 5696 lbs

The launch (by dynamic method using launch vehicle) was acomplished at 16:05 utc.

After a nominal ascent phase a float altitude of 127.800 ft was attained and the balloon started a slow drift due west, crossing the city of Albuquerque a mere kilometers south. Traveling then slightly southward crossed Arizona from east to west (click in the map at left to see the balloon flight path).

At 13:47 utc on the next day the balloon was terminated from the chasing plane. The payload separated and parachuted in the ground without damage at 14:32 utc 15 miles east of the town of Parkes, Arizona, near the California Border (34-08.85 N / 113-59.08 W).

The recovery team arrived to the landing site two days after with a helicopter wich transported the payload near a road from where the NSBF truck transported it back to the JPL Headquarters.

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission

Payload preparation Balloon inflation Balloon launch The gondola parachuting to ground in a nice view from the pursuit plane Gondola recovery