Purpose of the flight and payload description

The objective of the PATHFINDER program was to gather information about the alleged anomalies that affected balloons floating in the stratosphere due to the terrain, particularly over the Sacramento Mountains between Roswell, NM and the White Sands Missile Range.

The payload carried by each balloon consisted of a control board which automatically controlled flight termination and ballast release functions, a Vaisala RS-80N (OMEGA) radiosonde, a flashing strobe warning light, (aneroid "off" at 18.3 km), a 138.125 MHz command receiver, a tone decoder, and a 3.7 meter diameter flat circular parachute. Each flight system weighed from 20 to 45 kg, including 10% of that weight as ballast. The US-BON Vaisala radiosonde was suspended 5.5 meters -the length of the OMEGA antenna- below the flight package. The 3.7 meter parachute (extended length 5.5 meters) was flown in-line above the flight package. The overall length of the flight train was 11.4 meters.

Flight termination would occur either after a preset time or when the balloon descended to an altitude of 18.3 km. All the flight systems were small and light enough to be hand launched.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 11/3/1988
Launch site: Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, New Mexico, US  
Balloon launched by: Air Force Geophysics Laboratory (AFGL)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon  
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 11/29/1988

External references

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