Purpose of the flight and payload description

The SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP) is a miniaturized solar observatory that has been developed to fit the payload space for multiple manned and unmanned suborbital craft. B-SSIPP is a small (60kg, 1 meter overall) fully autonomous version of the platform, designed to fly aboard a high-altitude stratospheric balloon.

SSIPP contains a single-stage fine pointing system to achieve arcsecond-level pointing for solar remote sensing instrumentation. B-SSIPP also includes a novel, lightweight coarse pointing system to point and stabilize the payload without the use of torque motors or reaction wheels.

B-SSIPP collects a 4-inch beam and images the Sun at 2" resolution at 393nm at 20-30km altitude, to demonstrate performance and measure possible high-frequency chromospheric waves.

The system is wavelength-agile and includes a versatile, 1"-grid-drilled carbon fiber optical bench for buildup of future novel instrumentation. Flexible architecture allows future flights of the SSIPP instrument to be compatible with other manned and unmanned suborbital craft, to have larger apertures, and to support customizable optics for particular scientific investigations from infrared to the vacuum ultraviolet.

Video footage of the launch

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 9/3/2016 at 6:05 pt
Launch site: Benson Municipal Airport, Arizona, US  
Balloon launched by: World View Enterprises
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon  
Flight identification number: T20-02
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 9/3/2016
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): + 5 h

External references

Images of the mission

Hang test of the instrument at SwRI HQ (Image Courtesy of Southwest Research Institute) The balloon being inflated (Image: World View) The balloon ready to be launched (Image: World View) The balloon ascending (Image: NASA FOP)  

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