Description of the payload

Spider is a balloon-borne experiment designed to search for primordial gravity waves imprinted on the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Measuring the strength of this signal puts limits on inflationary theory.

The Spider instrument (shown in figure at left) consists of six degree-resolution independent monochromatic telescopes cooled to liquid Helium temperature (4 degrees Kelvin). The telescopes which observe at frequencies of 100 GHz, 150 GHz, and 220 GHz (corresponding to wavelengths of 3 mm, 2 mm, and 1.4 mm) are coupled to a polarisation-sensitive transition-edge bolometer array cooled to 250 mK. Each telescope is housed in a single long hold time cryostat and is fully baffled from radiation from the ground and balloon. The gondola permits the instrument to scan in azimuth with a reaction wheel and a motorized pivot. The cryostat, mounted on bearings, can be adjusted in elevation.

Solar arrays provide power.

Video of the launch operations

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome


Launch site: Williams Field, McMurdo Station, Antarctica  
Balloon launched by: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven - 39.570.000 cu ft - (0.8 Mil.)
Flight identification number: 660N

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission