Description of the payload

Flight qualification mission for the Stratofilm SF-450 / 37 "Heavy" balloon.

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome


Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, New Mexico, US  
Balloon launched by: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven - 37.000.000 cu ft
Flight identification number: 572NT
Payload weight: 6000 lbs

The balloon was launched by dynamic method assisted by launch vehicle on August 30 at 15:10 UTC. After a nominal ascent phase the balloon started to flight due west as can be seen in the map at right (click to enlarge). After a total flight time of 5 hours, 50 minutes, the balloon was terminated approximately 80 miles SW of the launch base. Recovery of the payload and balloon was completed on August 31.

According to the post flight report of the agency, the mission was an operations and science success, exceeding all preflight minimum requirements for the balloon and all test articles. The balloon performance was within specifications for inflation, launch, ascent, entry into float, and in float stability.

The termination used normal termination procedures, with the test ripstitch system operating in-line. The on-board video showed that the ripstitch system significantly reduced the parachute opening shock. The parachute was successfully separated by the SAPR (semi-automatic parachute release) system operating in the on-line mode, with the GAPR system also operating successfully in an off-line mode in parallel with the SAPR.

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission

View of the gondola. It's basically a great ballast container. (Credit HASP) While the sun breaks in the horizont, the CSBF team waits for launch confirmation (Credit: HASP) Under an overcast sky the test balloon is ready to be launched (Credit HASP team) The balloon was released and is moving to the launch vehicle to pickup the gondola (Credit: HASP team) The balloon in his initial ascent phase before disapearing in the clouds (Credits: HASP team)