The launch of the japanese FITE telescope, delayed - 10/26/2007
Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil.- The balloon-borne japanese experiment developed by the Nagoya University that was meant to be launched this year from the INPE's base of Cachoeira Paulista, was finally delayed.
The reason was originated in several troubles with a cryostat, a key component of the FITE (Far-Infrared Interferometric Telescope Experiment) which can be seen in the image. The device have the purpose to cool to near 2 degrees Kelvin the detectors of the telescope, the only way to detect the faint infrared radiation to be observed by the instrument.
The leakage detected in the cryostat forced to repair it and thus the scientific launch campaign was delayed until the end of the next year.
Also for the upcoming year, will be carried out in Brazil another campaign together with the French Space Agency (CNES). The launch base will be located at Timon, Maranhao state in the north part of the country, close to the equator. The launches would be performed between May and June after the signature of the agreement by Brazil's Government. The launches will involve zero pressure balloons on short duration missions, as well superpressure balloons and Mongolfier Infrared balloons, both with long duration flights.
Thank you so much to our friend Nilton Renó by keeping us informed of Brazil's balloon activities.
Argentinian rocketry fans reach the stratosphere with a balloon - 10/25/2006
Casbas, Argentine.- On October 14th, a group of rocketry fans during a weekend meeting in the town of Casbas, in the Buenos Aires province, Argentine Republic launched a stratospheric balloon in the framework of the RAC II encounter held every year on that same date.
The balloon used for the so called ICARO-I mission was of the weather type inflated with helium. The payload consisted in a digital camera set to took pictures every 2 minutes during the flight, and a GPS receptor which transmited data packets every ten seconds through a handy transmitter tuned at 144,935 Mhz. All the instruments were located in a box which acted as crash pad and thermal insulator.
The launch took place flawlessly at 10:00 local time on Sunday October 14th. Nevertheless, after the balloon reached 15.033 feet, the GPS stopped to work (before the flight it already give some headache to the team) so after thar any trace of the balloon was lost. At the moment of the failure, the balloon was in a southward route, so taking account of the wind, was estimated a landing near 100 km of the launch site, but little hope remained about his recovery.
Nevertheless, after a few days, a call to a team member from Coronel Suarez (near 95 kms southeast from the launch site) indicated that the balloon remains and the cargo was found in the zone and it was available for recovery. After make the trip to there, it was found that the payload (aside the GPS) was in good shape and working. The images obtained were downloaded from the camera and actually can be seen online, clicking here.
Aside the succesfull flight and recovery, the mission was the added merit to be the first time that a civilian launched balloon managed to obtain pictures from the stratosphere. In the past, when Argentina had a stratospheric balloon launch program, the Air Force in several launches under the "GALAXIA" program performed such photographic experiences with "piggy back" payloads.
Those of you interested in to contact the ICARO team can be try through their forum at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/forodecoheteria/
Thank you so much to Juan Carlos Zabalgoitía, by the information and images kindly provided.
End for the SUNRISE telescope flight - 10/4/2007
Fort Sumner, New Mexico, (USA).- After a total flight time of near nine hours, today a few minutes after midnight (according to UTC time) was terminated the engineering flight of the SUNRISE telescope. This was the fifth and last balloon of the autumn campaign carried out as every year by NASA from the launch base established at Fort Sumner airport. The mission (which was numbered as 576N) developed initially a northward path but as the balloon advanced at the end of the flight the termination ocurred over North Texas. The payload landed between the cities of Hartley and Dalhart as can be seen in this map.
The SUNRISE project aims at high-resolution spectro-polarimetric observations of the solar atmosphere on the intrinsic spatial scale of its magnetic structure. The Sunrise telescope with 1 m aperture and its instruments will provide spectra and images resolving spatial scales down to 35 km on the Sun. The main scientific goal of the mission is to understand the formation of magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere and to study their interaction with the convective plasma flows.
SUNRISE is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), Katlenburg-Lindau Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik (KIS) from the Germany side, the High Altitude Observatory (HAO)and Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL) on the US side and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) from Spain. More data at http://star.mpae.gwdg.de/Sunrise
Soon we will post here at StratoCata few video-captures that we managed to obtain from the video feed provided by NASA during flight.
Brazilian launch center anniversary - 10/1/2007
Cachoeira Paulista, (Brazil).- The Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Espaciales (INPE - Brazil's Space Agency) celebrated on September 28, the 37th anniversary of the creation of the Cachoeira Paulista unit. The celebration consisted basically in a ceremony on which the workers whom in 2007 achieved 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years in the Institute received merit medals, as well other people whom carried out oustanding performances in the development of their duties there.
September 28 was stablished as INPE's anniversary because that day -37 years ago- the São Paulo State donated the land area of 10,5 square Km when now is located the base, to the former Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, INPE's predecesor entity. Today, the workforce at Cachoeira Paulista base is near 750 people among scientists, colaborators, technicians, third party contractors, undergraduate students and visitors.
Adjacent to the base but under the same administration lies the main launch base devoted to perform stratospheric balloon launches operated by the Setor de Lançamento de Balões (SLB) from 1982.