Description of the payload

This was a validation test for the CAPANINA project wich aim is to develop a broadband wireless communications capability, at speeds up to 120 Mbit/s, from High Altitude Platforms to stationary users on the ground and to users on moving vehicles at speeds up to 300 km/h.

The specific aim of the test is to validate communication links between two payloads (Ka-band antenna and Free Space Optics laser system) onboard the aerial system, carried at 20km altitude, and two relevant ground stations.

The payload comprised:

Experiment A (RF communication system) - Prototypal system, ground node and aerial node for communication in Ka-band

Experiment B (FSO communication system) - Prototypal system, ground node and aerial node for free-space laser communication

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome

Launch site: European Space Range, Kiruna, Sweden  
Balloon launched by: SSC
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon 12.000 m3
Campaign: CAPANINA  

After waiting from August 19th, on August 30th the weather conditions finally allowed the release from Esrange of the Capanina high altitude balloon.

The count down started at 19.00 hours UTC.

The launch of the 12 000m3 stratospheric balloon took place in early morning at 01:52 UTC on 31 August.

The balloon, reached 24,7 km altitude and and covered an area of 60 km radius.

The cut down command was given after 9 hours and the landing took place near the village of Junosuando in the north part of Sweden.

The balloon, flew at 22-26 km altitude, covering an area of 60 km radius. The systems worked well and the customers were satisfied with the test results, which showed the equipment's ability to operate at high altitudes.

The project team had hoped for the balloon to stay over the Esrange area for six hours, but it flew for nine hours before the team decided to terminate the flight.

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission

Preparing one of the payloads On the launch pad last minute checkings Bottom view of the gondola while hanging from the lunch vehicle The flight line minutes before the launch The balloon already inflated waiting for release