Purpose of the flight and payload description
The experiment AGLAE was designed to measure the far-infrared emission of cold matter in our galaxy, the existence of which had been predicted by Guy Serra from the gamma-ray data of the European satellite COSB.
The optics of the instrument was composed of two identical systems (two wavelength channels) defined by reststrahlen filters connected to two Cassegrain telescopes with parallel beams pointed at a fixed elevation of 20º. In each channel, reflection filters define the wavelength bandwidth with the nommal values 114-196 microns and 71-95 microns; behind the filters, a spherical mirror focuses the IR beam onto gallium-doped germanium bolometers. All these elements are located on the cold plate of a helium cryostat. The signals from the bolometers are transmitted to the ground after amplification, using analog telemetry.
The gondola on which all these elements are mounted is azimuth stabilized and the rotation of the Earth is used to scan the sky with the instrument at constant elevation. The average azimuth can be reset by telecommand. The attitude of the gondola with respect to the local vertical is continuously monitored. Vertical oscillations remain negligible at ceiling altitude.
The technology of the AGLAE instument served to develope another instrument denominated AROME developed also by the same scientific group.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 11/12/1980 at
Launch site: Australian Balloon Launching Station, Alice Springs, Australia
Balloon launched by: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 11/30/1980 at ??
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 30 h
Landing site: In an aborigin reserve 600 km from Alice Spring
Payload weight: 400 kgs
This mission in the southern hemisphere allowed the observation of the galactic disc. The flight also marked the first use by the French Space agency balloon program of the Alice Springs facilities
- Far-infrared survey of the galactic disc in the Southern Hemisphere Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 137, no. 1, Aug. 1984, p. 1-5
- Far-infrared survey of the galactic disc. II - The sources Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 144, no. 1, March 1985, p. 37-48
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