Description of the payload

The primary objective of the mission was to raise the technology readiness level of several balloon systems in development or already flown. For this purpose a technological square gondola built by the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility was used as we can see in the picture at left. Among the items tested during the flight were the LCT2-20 TDRSS Transceiver, a new lightWeight rotator, a hand launch CDI termination system, the EVTM Test Telemetry System, SPB support systems, and more.

Additionally, the test flight gondola transported several "piggy back" experiments flown as missions of opportunity. The payloads included were:

MARSBOX (Microbes in Atmosphere for Radiation, Survival, and Biological Outcomes eXperiment) a collaboration between the German Aerospace Center (DLR), NASA Ames Research Center and Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which carried different types of microorganisms -bacteria, filamentous fungi (mold) and yeast - inside an aluminum container which were exposed the microbes to simulated Mars amosphere, pressure, temperature and UV-radiation conditions.

Several experiments belonging to Cubes in Space an international educational initiative for school children that teaches them how to design STEM -science, technology, engineering and mathematics- experiments for launch into space. The experiments are housed inside small transparent cubes which are then installed inside a specially designed frame that is attached to the external structure of the gondola.

Finally another three experiments: SUPERSEIS, GAPS Thermal and INMEX

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-103 - 29.470.000 cuft
Flight identification number: 700NT
Payload weight: 4420 lbs

External references and bibliographical sources

Images of the mission