BEXUS completed the fifth succesfull mission - 3/28/2007
Kiruna (Sweden).- Finally, after only a week of preparation and waiting the right meteorological conditions, on March 28th was launched the BEXUS V mission.
The balloon was successfully launched from the launch pad of the ESRANGE base with perfect weather conditions, and after lift off, it reached without troubles a float altitude of 25 km wich was maintained for 2,5 hours. After completing the mission the balloon was separated and the payload landed safely a bit east of Rovaniemi, Finland.
At right, we can see a picture taken from the stratosphere by one of the experiments carried out on BEXUS. It was obtained from a height of 25km above Rovaniemi, Finland. This is one of the best images from the so called MMSP (Multi Motif Stratospheric Photography). The camera was pointing eastwards with the Swedish mountains visible in the horizon. Full 8MPixel resolution (beware, it have a size of 3.7 Mb) of this image can be downloaded here. More pictures and videos from MMSP will be added later in the web site of the experiment. A total of 454 pictures and 105 minutes of video was recorded with a total size of 3,41Gb
As usual we wrote our own report on the flight. It can be seen here.
A bit of history
The BEXUS project started as a "hands on" initiative some years ago as an effort to help to grow interest of students in the space field. Sometime before a balloon campaign starts at Esrange every year is launched a balloon to test their technique and logistics systems. The students at Kiruna's different space related educations are offered the opportunity to send their own designed and built experiments with the balloon. The students are from the space engineering programmes at the Department of Space Science and from the technical high school programs.
Students from different years and courses are involved in the project, which means that different groups of students meet and get a chance to work together on the basis of their respective areas of competence. It is the students themselves who lead, design and build the experiments and the instruments destined for the balloon launch. Most of the data to be collected during the balloon flight is used later in the courses.
It's important to indicate that starting on 2008 will be two BEXUS flights per year, a fact confirming once again the progressive growth of the proyect from flight to flight.
This was the fifth flight after BEXUS I in 2002, BEXUS II in 2004, BEXUS III in 2005 and BEXUS IV the last year.
More information on the project visiting BEXUS V web site at http://www.rex4bex5.spelaroll.se/bexus.html.
IASI validation campaign at ESRANGE - 3/18/2007
ESRANGE (Sweden) The french space agency CNES started last Febraury a stratospheric balloon launch campaign, devoted to validate the data measured by the IASI (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) instrument onboard the METOP satellite in October 2006.
The first payload launched was a modified version of the LPMA instrument (Limb Profile Monitor of the Atmosphere originally created to made Earth's limb measurements) used to observe the Earth's atmospheric emission at nadir, to determine the vertical profiles of various atmospheric gases such as H2O, CO2, CO, O3, N2O, & CH4 from high resolution atmospheric spectra. The instrument is the balloon-borne version of the IASI located in the METOP satellite.
The balloon was launched on Febraury 22th at 15:00 utc, from the base of ESRANGE. It reached the float altitude near 32 kms, 2 hours and 20 minutes after, and remained aloft until 20:30 utc, when it was terminated. At right can be seen the payload's landing site the next day.
This was the fifth flight of the instrument after three others arctic flights in 2001, 2002, and 2006 and a very succesfull mission from Timon (Brazil) in 2005.
Also were released these days 5 superpressure balloons with a technological aim.
More information in http://ballons.cnes.fr:8180/nacelles_pointees/vols/iasi5/index.html.