Description of the payload

This gondola was created to be used exclusivelly for long duration missions onboard MIR or superpressure balloons.

It consists of several sensors to obtain in-situ measurements of atmospheric parameters as pression, temperature and wind speed, coupled with a communication system wich transmits the data obtained to ground via the ARGOS satellite system and a GPS transmiter to obtain accurate position and height data. This elements are encased in a temperature insulated box of prismatic shape similar to the one pictured in the left image (click to enlarge). On top of it are located the ARGOS antenna and in the sides several solar panels that provide power to the onboard batteries.

In the lower part of the gondola is located a ballast system based on liquid nitrogen to control the speed of the balloon in the ascent phase.

Tha absolute pressure values are transmited to ground each minute, and the rest of the data four times each hour. The onboard electronics drives all the communication functions as well a backup flight termination device.

The actual RUMBA gondola is derived from an earlier version, but suffered a great simplification in their assembly and the correction of several design flaws troughout an extensive flight validation program.

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome

Launch site: Williams Field, McMurdo Station, Antarctica  
Balloon launched by: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Super Pressure Balloon 10 mts
Flight identification number: SV-06-H
Overall weight: 47kg

The balloon was launched on September 20th, 2005 by hand launched method assisted by a special platform developed for this kind of balloons.

After the initial ascent phase the flight was stopped due to a flase alarm of the secondary termination system. The payload parachuted to earth and a few days after, was recovered, refurbished and launched again on a later flight.

This flight was performed on the framework of the Stratéole/Vorcore campaign, aimed at studying the dynamics and transport inside the southern-hemisphere stratospheric polar vortex.

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission