Description of the payload

An instrument that collects samples for a range of trace gases in the stratosphere.

It consists of 26 sample tubes immersed in dewar containing liquid neon cryogen. The sample manifold, dewar and control electronics are housed in a gondola that is approximately 1.1 m x 1.1m x 1.9 m, with a gross weight (including cryogen and Communication Interface Package of approximately 335 kg.

The instrument adds additional sample capacity to allow collection of 25-26 samples per profile, compared to 12-16 of current use. Samples are collected only after about one hour at float altitude (100-110 kft), and during controlled descent at approximately 300 ft/min.

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 4.000.000 cuft - 0.8 Mil.
Balloon serial number: R 4.00-1-29
Flight identification number: 550N
Payload weight: 869 lbs
Overall weight: 1491 lbs

The balloon was launched on October 1st at 16:34 utc using the dynamic method assisted by a launch vehicle.

Following a nominal ascent phase, was reached the float altitude of 108.900 feet when the balloon started a northward path. After near one hour of flight at float a valve-down sequence commenced and was continued at a rate of descent of approximately -425 ft/min to an altitude of near 46,000 ft.

The flight was terminated at 21:49 utc and the payload landed in good condition at 22:18 utc at coordinates 35*15.49N, 103*56.8W on New Mexico.

This was the first scientific flight after two engineering trials. Trace gas measurements obtained will be used to validate remote sensors aboard the AURA satellite, and continue defining trends related to ozone chemistry in the stratosphere.

External references and bibliographical sources