Vorcore campaign milestones - 11/25/2005
McMurdo (Antarctica) : In spite of to have finalized the balloon launches a month ago, the VORCORE campaign has set two important milestones on November 25th: reached the first 100,000 observations and one of the first balloons launched broke the record of duration for a stratospheric superpressure balloon surpassing the mark of the 80 days. The remarkable issue is that still are circling the antarctic plateau other 16 balloons of the same kind.
As our readers remember, throughout almost 80 days the team of scientists of the Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique of the CNRS and technicians of the balloon division of space agency French CNES sent a total of 27 superpressure balloons, wich followed a circular pattern around the south pole called the Antarctic vortex.
According to their organizers, the campaign was a technological success from the point of view of the operations in a so extreme weather, and also was immensely fruitful in the aspect of the human relations with their North American hosts. Now, the principal objective is to transform that technical event into a scientific triumph, analyzing and processing the obtained data.
The final summary of the operations can be read at: http://www.lmd.polytechnique.fr/VORCORE/McMurdoE.htm.
HISENTINEL powered stratospheric airship flight - 11/8/2005
Roswell, Nuevo Mexico.-After years of not being used to launch stratospheric balloons the Roswell Industrial Air Center received again a balloon launch team to perform one of such missions, although it was not a balloon but an airship. More accuratelly a stratospheric one.
The launch took place on November 8, from the main runway of the airport, the same spot from where were launched in the 60's and 70's, space probes test models which resembled "flying saucers", under programs like PEPP or Viking.
In the picture at right we can see the preflight deployment. The airship was launched in the same way a balloon is: only partially inflated. The low atmospheric pressure at float altitude make the helium to expand until it completely inflates the hull to the rigid aerodynamic shape required for operation. After a good launch the HiSentinel reached 74.000 feet and started a powered flight that endured near 5 hours.
The innovative craft, measuring 146-foot-long, is a joint development of Aerostar International, Southwest Research Institute, and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). It carried a 60-pound equipment pod and a propulsion system. The importance of the succesfull flight is that along history and more than a dozen projects of the same kind (POBAL-S, HASPA, HASKV or HAPP to name a few) this is the second time in which is achieved a powered flight in the stratosphere.
HiSentinel is the first airship developed under the Composite Hull High Altitude Powered Platform (CHHAPP) program. CHHAPP is a spiral development program for a family of long-endurance autonomous solar-electric, stratospheric airships. These low-cost systems will be capable of lifting small- to medium-payloads (20 to 200 pounds) to near-space altitudes for durations of longer than 30 days for communications, military and science applications.
Designed for launch from remote sites, these airships will not require large hangars or special facilities.
CNES's autumn campaign in Aire Sur L'Adour - 11/4/2005
Aire Sur L'Adour (FR) : It seems that the autumnal campaign of the French space agency has not continued mainly due to the bad atmospheric conditions. The news come from the Web site of the Laboratoire de Physique ET Chimie of l'Environnement - Orleans.
Apparently only 3 balloons have been launched,the first on September 22th corresponding to a technological flight, and the two remaining on October 7th carriying the SAOZ instrument in a balloon and the ELHYSA instrument in other on the same day.
The remaining planned flights have apparently cancelled due to the adverse climatic factors already mentioned.
The image that illustrates this information was obtained by Bertrand Gaubicher, main technician of instrument ELHYSA.