Purpose of the flight and payload description
INFOCµS is a balloon-borne instrument incorporating recent breakthroughs in focusing optics and detectors to achieve order of magnitude improvements in both hard X-ray sensitivity and imaging resolution, with high resolution spectroscopy. This instrument is a pioneering effort to extend into the hard X-ray energy range the power of focusing optics that has revolutionized X-ray astronomy with missions like ROSAT and ASCA.
The telescope is conical approximation of Wolter-I optics with 8m focal length and 40cm diameter. It employed 255 nested ultra-thin reflector pairs, or supermirrors that reflected hard X-rays by Bragg reflection at incidence angles larger than the critical angle of total external reflection.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 5/31/2004 at 15:19 utc
Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, Fort Sumner, (NM), US
Balloon launched by: National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Winzen - 39.570.000 cu ft - 0.8 Mil. - SF3-39.57-.8/.8/.8-NA
Balloon serial number: W39.57-2-27
Flight identification number: 529N
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 5/31/2004 at 00:05 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): ~ 9 h
Landing site: 35 miles W of Albuqureque, New Mexico, US
During this flight, the InFOCuS telescope's elevation drive did not work for reasons unknown. In the absence of elevation control, the scientist took background data throughout the day and opted to terminate the flight prior to sunset.