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.
Balloon launched on: 5/8/1947
Launch site: Lehigh University, Bethelem, Pennsylvania
Balloon launched by: University of New York
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Balloon Tandem Tandem (23 x 350gr)
Flight identification number: NYU 3
Landing site: Balloons broke free
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 third and last flight attempt of the series. The payload consisted of the MOGUL project Sonobuoy, radar targets, radiosonde and sand-based ballast system. The operations commenced on the early morning of 8 May, but after the balloons were inflated, the winds picked up and the balloons broke free before the NYU scientists could attach the instrument payload. After this incident, the project decided to look for a launch site with better wind conditions and less air traffic than that around New York City, so operations were moved to Alamogordo Army Air Field in New Mexico, where a Watson Laboratories field station was already in operation.
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