Purpose of the flight and payload description
Purpose of the flight was the exposure of test animals to heavy primary cosmic radiation at 100.000 feet for 9 hours.
The Animal Capsule contained: one cat, three hamsters, and track plates fixed over the head of the anesthetized cat to monitor specific hits of cosmic rays. The load was complemented by standard instrumentation, an extra barograph, and radar target.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 2/20/1952
Launch site: Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, New Mexico, US
Balloon launched by: Balloon Branch, Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon General Mills - 85 ft.diam. (1.3 mils)
Flight identification number: AMFL 7 / HAFB 49
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 2/22/1952
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 43 h
Landing site: Aguilar, Colorado, US
Payload weight: 104 lbs
Overall weight: 259 lbs
The balloon was released from launch arms at Holloman Air Force Base at 7:50. The clock-timer was set to terminate the flight after 9 hours of flight. However, the cutdown mechanism failed, permitting the flight to continue for 43 hours. The B-17 tracking aircraft followed it successfully for 18 hours, then returned to Holloman Air Force Base. The B-17 took off again 10 hours later to find the balloon. The AM-1 transmitter had ceased operation after 30 hours of flight; so the balloon could not be located. The package was returned two months later from Aguilar, Colorado. A maximum altitude of 103,600 feet was recorded by radar. The barograph record was too smudged and wrinkled to provide any data other than the duration of the flight.