Purpose of the flight and payload description

BLISS was the acronym of Balloonborne Laser In Situ Sensor a high-resolution absorption spectrometer designed to provide measurements of the concentrations of ozone and other stratospheric species and their diurnal variations. It was developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology starting in 1978. Click in the logo at left for more detailed views.

This complex instrument used second-harmonic detection of the absorption of tunable diode laser (TDL) radiation in a 1-km path length defined by a retroreflector lowered 0.5 km below the balloon gondola. A He-Ne laser and co-aligned TV camera with CID imaging were used for retroreflector tracking under microprocessor control.

BLISS was a self-contained instrument comprising two onboard microprocessors for instrument control and more than one hundred optical components mounted on a 1.5 by 2.0 meter optical table. The main components of the instrument were: four TDL and Dewar systems; four reference cell units; a He-Ne laser/TV camera combination for retroreflector tracking; a retroreflector and cable reel-drive assembly; a 30 x 46 tracking mirror assembly; five HgCdTe detectors with filters; an f/3.3 telescope; a periscope assembly for laser selection; an electronics package containing preamps, synchronous demodulators, microprocessor units, TDL current and temperature control units; a power-distribution box and battery pack; and numerous other optical and electrical components such as mirrors, lenses, beam splitters, filters, and mechanical choppers.

BLISS was integrated into its own gondola, which included a lithium battery pack and the telemetry transmitter/receiver system.

It was flown successfully in different configurations almost twelve times between 1982 and 1992.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 6/15/1984 at 14:18 utc
Launch site: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, Palestine, Texas, US  
Balloon launched by: National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon SF-347.33-050-NSCHR-01
Balloon serial number: W16.12-2-05
Flight identification number: 1370P
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 6/15/1984 at 17:35 utc
Landing site: Balloon failure. Payload landed 14 miles SSE of Waco, Texas, US

External references

After running StratoCat in an "advertising free" basis for 16 years, I've joined "Ko-Fi" to get funding for the research I do. If you find this website interesting or useful, you can help me to keep it up and running.