Purpose of the flight and payload description

The objective of the flight was to collect stratospheric air samples for greenhouse gas measurements.

The payload can be seen in the scheme at left. It was a compact cryogenic air sampler of relativelly new design which uses a cooling device called the Joule-Thomson (J-T) minicooler. The J-T minicooler can produce liquefied neon within 5 seconds from high pressure neon gas precooled by liquid nitrogen. The sampler employs liquid neon as a refrigerant to solidify or liquefy sampled atmospheric constituents.

The sampler is capable of collecting about 3 and more than 7 L STP of air at 25 and 120 hPa, respectively, which corresponds to about 25 and 15 km above ground within 240 seconds, respectively.

The balloon-borne sampling system, which was developed specially for Antarctic experiments, consists of the compact sampler, a 2-L high pressure neon gas cylinder, pneumatic and solenoid valves, a controller with a GPS receiver, a telemetry transmitter, and batteries.

The size of the sampling system is 300 mm width x 300 mm depth x 950 mm height and it weighs about 22 kg (including liquid nitrogen), allowing the use of relativelly small balloons (2000m3 to 9000 m3).

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 2/8/2012
Launch site: Research Vessel Hakuho Maru 0 º N 115 º O
Balloon launched by: ISAS / JAXA
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon model B2 2.000 m3
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 2/8/2012
Landing site: 23 km ESE of launch point

External references

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