Description of the payload

SALOMON is a balloon-borne UV-visible spectrometer designed, like its predecesor AMON, to acquire vertical profiles of O3, NO2, NO3, OClO and OBrO as well as the extinction coefficient of aerosols, at altitudes between 15 and 40 km. SOLOMON uses a remote measurement technique (remote-sensing) by using the moon as source of light. The pointing system, the pivot and the gondola were developed at the Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement (LPCE), whereas the SAOZ-type spectrometer it carries is the result of joint work with the CNRS Service d'Aéronomie.

The instrument work in automatic mode during flight (including start-up, pointing, spectre acquisition and shut-down). The gondola weighs only 85 kilograms, making both launch and flight easier than with AMON.

Between October 1998 and january 2006, SALOMON performed ten successful flights in mid and high latitude. Since 2007 on it was replaced by an improved version denominated SALOMON-N2.

SALOMON was involved in validation programmes for the ODIN and ENVISAT satellites, as well as in national programmes for measuring nitrogen oxides and stratospheric aerosols.

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome

Launch site: European Space Range, Kiruna, Sweden  
Balloon launched by: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Open balloon model 100z 100.000 m3
Campaign: ENVISAT IV  

The balloon was successfully launched by dynamic method assisted by an auxiliary balloon under windy conditions at 16:06 UTC on January 16th, reaching a flight level of 34 km.

Then started a slow controled descent by several hours until the cut down command was given at 21:25 UTC and the payload landed in the north part of Finland, near the lake Inari. The gondola structure was damaged during the landing without however affecting the instrument.

The aim of this campaign was to determine the limitations of the remote sensing measurement methods of stratospheric species used in particular by satellite instruments such as those onboard ENVISAT (e.g. GOMOS).

During this flight SALOMON conducted its observations during the balloon ascent (from 14 to 34 km) and for the first time during a slow descent (from 34 to 18.5 km).

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission

Preparing SALOMON for launching An eiree sight of the auxiliary balloon. Take note the strong wind condition. More preparations, the winds are very strong. A distant view of tha main balloon The main balloon full inflated near the release