Purpose of the flight and payload description
The BOV vehicle is a microgravity experiment system using a high altitude balloon.
The system is composed by a flight capsule body rocket-like shaped (outer shell) and an experiment module that floats free in the interior of the capsule (inner shell). The system is carried to the stratosphere by a new kind of balloon capable of reaching 40 kms of altitude, thus assuring 30 seconds of good quality microgravity. To allow this, the inner shell must be isolated from the outer shell so no disturbance forces work on it during the free-fall. At left can be seen a detailed scheme. BOV measures four meters of length, 0.55 mts of diameter and weights 310 kgs. As can be seen in the image it have a rocket-like shape to reduce aerodynamic disturbance.
The inner shell can fall freely since the outer shell measures it's relative position with laser displacement sensors activating several gas-jet thrusters to avoid any colition with it and let him free from the dynamic pressure and other aerodynamic disturbances.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 6/5/2013
Launch site: Multipurpose Aviation Research Field, Taiki-Cho, Hokkaido, Japan
Balloon launched by: Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) / Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon model B300 300.000 m3
Flight identification number: B13-01
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 6/5/2013
Landing site: Failure of the balloon at launch. Aborted flight
This flight was intended to test a new drag-free control system developed with the objective of to accommodate payloads larger than in previous flights.
At the moment of the release the balloon -of a volume of 300.000 m3- failed, forcing to abort the launch. By that moment, the balloon had been released and once aborted it landed inside the terrain of the launch base. A part of the envelope however, fell over the wires of a power transmission line located there. According to the press release issued by Jaxa after the failed launch, the balloon was promptly removed by workers of the Hokkaido Electric Power Company Inc.