Description of the payload

The mission was a technological flight aimed to test several systems to be incorporated in the near future in the Long Duration Balloon (LDB) flights performed by the NASA balloon program from places like Sweden (transatlantic flights to Canada) and Antarctica (circumpolar flights), using superpressure balloons or conventional (zero pressure) ones.

The payload consisted in a special gondola nicknamed "Thunderbird", developed by CSBF to be used for these kind of technological missions. Also was onboard a "piggy back" experiment flown as a "payload of opportunity" consisting in a capsule denominated MARAIA which was droped from the balloon during the flight. The capsule is part of a Johnson Space Center/Kennedy Space Center prototype being developed for International Space Station sample return.

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome

Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, Fort Sumner, (NM), US  
Balloon launched by: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon  
Flight identification number: 642N

External references and bibliographical sources