Purpose of the flight and payload description
The objective of the flight was to expose nuclear emulsions to investigate charge spectrum of cosmic rays at very high charges.
The detector consisted of a sandwich of photographic emulsions and iron measuring 8.2 square meters, as we can see in the scheme at left. The design of the detector differed somewhat from that used in a first exposure experiment performed by the same group in 1966. An appreciably greater area was obtained by decreasing the mass per unit area, and the detector was constructed of two layers of iron.
Iron was used as the degrader in preference to lead because, in a thin detector, the disadvantage of the shorter interaction length in iron is outweighed by its somewhat greater stopping power, and the consequent weight reduction. The outer two emulsion layers were composed by Ilford G2 layers, with a thickness of 200 µm. The central emulsion was an Ilford G5 plate, with a thickness of 400 µm. The outer emulsions permitted to select those particles Which penetrated the entire assembly and to check for any variation of ionization with range in the detector. The sensitivity of the G2 emulsions was approximately 20% of that of the G5 emulsions and enabled to measure the central optical density of the heaviest detected tracks.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 5/16/1967 at 19:51 cdt
Launch site: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, Palestine, Texas, US
Balloon launched by: National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Winzen 10.600.000 cuft (0.7 mil. Stratofilm)
Balloon serial number: SF 305.86-050-nsc/02 Serial Nº 80
Flight identification number: 298P
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 5/16/1967
Landing site: Balloon failure at launch
Payload weight: 1153 lbs.
Upon release the payload slowly descended to the pavement of the launch pad, release of approximately 150 pounds of ballast caused the balloon to ascend slowly, when it was apparent that the balloon was not going up properly and safe parachute altitude was attained, the flight was terminated.
- Emulsion Detector Proceedings, 5th AFCRL Scientific Balloon Symposium, (1968) p. 89
- NCAR Scientific Balloon Facility Annual Report, 1967 National Center for Atmospheric Research, January 1968
- Balloon Flight Record and Scheduled Balloon Flights No. 24, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Summer 1967 - StratoCat's private collection
- The Charge Spectrum of Very Heavy Cosmic Ray Nuclei Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 1970, 1-43 318
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