Purpose of the flight and payload description

The payload was composed by a double Langmuir probe consisting of four Aquadag-coated aluminium spheres at the end of two orthogonal pairs of booms in the horizontal plane, and a fifth sphere on a boom orthogonal to the plane of the other two pairs and above them. A motor above the uppermost vertical sphere provided for the rotation of the payload with a period near 13 seconds. The potential differences between the two orthogonal sets of double probes and between the fifth one and the mean value of the four horizontal ones, were measured and telemetered to a ground receiving station. The difference in potential between the horizontal probes due to the external electric field, appeared as a sinusoidal voltage variation, while the difference of the work function of the probes produced a d.c. voltage that was easily eliminated from the measurements. A magnetometer, fixed to the rotating payload, was used to determine the direction of the booms (and from it, the direction of the electric field) at every moment. The payload was descended 30 meters below the gondola to prevent it disturbing the external electric field. The two horizontal sets of probes had different gain in order to have a greater range of measure.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 7/13/1989 at 4:52 utc
Launch site: Base di Lancio Luigi Broglio, Trapani, Sicily, Italy  
Balloon launched by: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) / Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Zodiac 400.000 m3
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 7/14/1989
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 23 h 51 m
Landing site: In Huelva, Spain
Payload weight: 1396 kgs

External references

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