Purpose of the flight and payload description

The RACOON concept permits the flight of large, low-cost polyethylene balloons for several weeks at stratospheric altitudes without ballast: the balloon ascends each morning and descends at night. This movement of 15 to 20 km in altitude provides an ideal platform for vertical soundings and sampling measurements in the stratosphere.

The payload transported included a new microprocessor-controlled telemetry system which transmited to the ARGOS location and data collection system on board the polar-orbiting TIROS and NOAA weather satellites. However a prelaunch accident destroyed the telemetry system on this flight. Instead, the balloon was located by an ancient GHOST (Global Horizontal Sounding Technique) system perched on top of the balloon and transmitting sun-angle data at 15 MHz.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 9/19/1980
Launch site: Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG), Kourou, French Guiana  
Balloon launched by: National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon 20.000 m3 (18 microns)
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 14 d
Payload weight: 15 kg
Overall weight: 25 kg

External references

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