Purpose of the flight and payload description

A highly sophisticated gondola specializing in air mass zero (AM0) calibration of solar cells.

Calibrations are performed fliying the gondola on-board stratospheric balloons at high altitudes (>36 km) where the solar spectral irradiance is very close to AM0. The cells calibrated in this way can subsequently be used as standard solar cell in various laboratory tasks for solar cell characterization by sun simulators.

CNES is the only laboratory in Europe carrying out calibration of this type above the atmosphere.

At left is a drawing of the balloon/payload system (click to enlarge).

The CNES calibration flights have flown from Aire sur l'Adour or Gap (in France) facilities since 1975 and recently (2005) also were flown in the ecuatorial region (Northern Brazil). The flights are scheduled between June and September, since the Sun is high in the sky at this time of year so that the sunlight passes through a minimal thickness of the atmosphere before reaching the solar modules.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 6/25/1998 at 6:07
Launch site: Aérodrome de Gap-Tallard, Haute Alpes, France  
Balloon launched by: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon model 100sf Zodiac - 100.000 m3
Balloon serial number: 100 SF Nº 26
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 6/25/1998 at ~ 15:10
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 9 h 4 m
Payload weight: 353 kgs
Gondola weight: 143 kgs

External references

Images of the mission

In the background the main balloon fully inflated. At left in the foreground a tetraedral auxiliary balloon holds the gondola.

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.