Description of the payload

The Balloon-Borne Cryogenic Telescope Testbed (BOBCAT) is a technology demonstration to develop advanced instrumentation for astrophysical observations at far-infrared wavelengths. It develops cryogenic techniques as an enabling technology to improve far-IR sensitivity by a factor of 100,000 or more compared to current state-of-the-art instrumentation such as SOFIA. Cryogenic spectrometers, operating at balloon altitudes, have game-changing capabilities, but achieving this goal while remaining within balloon payload mass limits requires ultra-light cryostats. This project develops the ultra-light cryostat and demonstrates the ability to transfer cryogenic liquids at balloon altitudes.

Video of the launch operations

Details of the balloon flight and scientific outcome

Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, Fort Sumner, (NM), US  
Balloon launched by: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven Aerostar - W29.47-2X-94 - 29.470.000 cuft
Flight identification number: 696N
Payload weight: 3136 lb

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission

  The BOBCAT payload hangs from the launch vehicle during testing prior to launching. (Image: Nick Bellis)     A photo of BOBCAT in flight taken with the onboard camera (Credit: Nick Bellis)