Purpose of the flight and payload description

Project Mogul was a top secret project carried out by the US Army Air Forces involving the launch of stratospheric balloons carrying sensitive microphones, whose primary purpose was long-distance detection of sound waves generated by Soviet atomic bomb tests. The project was carried out from 1947 until early 1949. The project was moderately successful, but was very expensive and ultimatelly was replaced by a network of seismic detectors and air sampling for fallout.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 4/3/1947 at 14:12 est
Launch site: Lehigh University, Bethelem, Pennsylvania  
Balloon launched by: University of New York
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Balloon Tandem Tandem (14 x 350gr)
Flight identification number: NYU 1
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 4/3/1947
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 1 h 16 m
Landing site: In the ocean near Sandy Hook , New Jersey, US

In early April 1947, the British military prepared to destroy with explosives German naval installations on Helgoland, an island in the North Sea on which would become one of the biggest non-nuclear man-made explosions. In preparation for monitoring the acoustic signal produced by the blast, during that month, the New York University group performed a series of balloon launches from the football field at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

This was the first flight of the series and the payload consisted merely of a radiosonde and sand ballast. It was launched at 14:12 EST on April 3 using a cluster of 14 meteorological balloons plus two lifting balloons. Due to the lack of experience handling long balloon trains (330 feet long) with appreciable lift, the NYU team improvised some auxiliary rigging to hold the balloon train down during its assembly. These auxiliary lines were not detached from the train after launch and became entangled with the lifter balloons and the parachute of the sand ballast system. As a result, the balloon train rose only to 46,000 feet before the tow balloons were freed. The remaining balloons started to descent and finally impacted in the ocean near Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

External references

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