Purpose of the flight and payload description

The primary objective of this flight was to test the behaviour of a new gondola developed to measure trace gas profiles in the stratosphere and to compare the results with simultaneously performed measurements of the LIMS (Limb Infrared Monitor of the Stratosphere) instrument aboard the NIMBUS 7 satellite.

The balloon gondola (image at left) was designed and built to provide a sun pointing capability. The gondola carried radiometers measuring the gases H2O, HNO3 and NO2 in occultation during sunset. The gondola provided two axis stabilization to better than 3 arc mins by means of a twin axis sun sensor controlling an experiment mounting plate in elevation and the complete gondola in azimuth.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 7/28/1978 at 1:06 utc
Launch site: DLR Oberpfaffenhofen, Munich, Germany  
Balloon launched by: MORABA (Mobile Raketen Basis)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon  
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 7/28/1978
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 3 h 30 m

This was the first test flight of the gondola that incorporated two radiometers and was performed in cooperation with the DFVLR/Oberpfaffenhofen. Its objective was the verification of the technical performance of the payload. Sun lock was achieved 11 min after sunrise and was maintained for about 30 min until the gondola had to be cut down before it was blown over the Bavarian Alps into Austria. Although the test flight was too short for a good calibration (no measurements at zenith angles lower than 90º) the measurements could be inverted to concentration profiles of H20 and NO2.

External references

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