Purpose of the flight and payload description
The purpose of the flight was to perform simultaneous multiplatform studies of the wave-particle interactions produced by operation of the Siple VLF transmitter, to measure the electric field and bremsstrahlung X ray flux, and to study various aspects of the dynamics of the plasmapause region. It was part of a campaign carried out at Siple Dome Station, Antarctica between December 1980 and January 1981. It invloved the launch of instrumented balloons along with Nike-Tomahwak and Super-Arcas rockets. The balloons were launched through a cooperative effort of the Universities of Maryland, Houston, and Oslo.
THE BALLOON PAYLOAD
This particular balloon flight carried the following detectors:
X-Ray detector that consisted of an uncollimated 7.6 cm-diameter thallium-activated sodium iodide scintillation counter.
Electric Field detector consisting of two orthogonal pairs of electric field probes in the horizontal plane, one probe suspended vertically below the payload and an electronics unit to measure the potential difference between the probes. The horizontal probes were either square plates measuring 30 cm on a side, or hollow spheres measuring 30 cm in diameter. The vertical probe was a 30 cm x 30 cm square plate. Each probe was mounted on a 2.5 m insulating phenolic boom. The probes were made of aluminum and coated with a colloidal carbon suspension called Aquadag.
The balloon payload was connected to the balloon through a rotator by about 50 meters of woven rope. The rotator was used to spin the payload at a nominal rate of 4 rpm. Attached to the payload body were 4 Aquadag-coated aluminum plates used as a reference ground.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 12/12/1980 at 6:29 utc
Launch site: Siple Dome Station, Antarctica
Balloon launched by: University of Houston
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
Flight identification number: 3
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 12/13/1980 at 11:00 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 27 h 30 m