Purpose of the flight and payload description
GPHAR stands for Guided Parafoil High Altitude Research. The primary objectives of the GPHAR program are to both investigate the flight envelope and mature the technology related to the deployment and flight of parafoils at altitudes above 25,000 ft. MSL. Development of this technology will enable capabilities such as recovery of scientific balloon payloads, recovery and re-use of rocket components, satellite recovery, ISS sample return, and Mars or other terrestrial body descent and landing systems.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 8/6/2015
Launch site: Madras Municipal Airport, Oregon, US
Balloon launched by: Near Space Corporation (NSC)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 8/6/2015
This was the second flight of the program. It was conducted on August 6, 2015, from Madras, Oregon. Following release at 60,706 ft (18.5 km), the system successfully navigated and autonomously landed just 230 ft (70 m) from the pre-determined landing coordinates. The launch site was located approximately 50 miles (80 km) away from
the pre-planned landing location. Important advancements to key challenges of parafoil flight in low density atmosphere were achieved, namely a more challenging dynamic deployment and the autonomous flight and control of the parafoil.