Purpose of the flight and payload description
The mission was a test flight of the EXO-ATMOSPHERIC AEROBRAKE developed by NASA's Ames Research Center. This payload is a passive reentry/deorbit device like a specially designed parachute that operates at extremely low pressures, which will eventually enable small samples to be returned from the International Space Station or other orbital platforms. In addition, this technology is intended to help enable future small or nanosatellite missions to the surface of Mars and other planetary bodies in the solar system.
The flight test aimed to determine how the device might transition from de-orbit to subsonic mode. For this balloon flight, the forebody of the device was a Tube Deployed Reentry Vehicle (TDRV) also developed at AMES.
Notably, the flight marked the first for Raven Aerostar as a commercial provider for NASA's Flight Opportunities program.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 8/29/2019 at 11:00 utc
Launch site: Raven Innovation Campus, Baltic, South Dakota, US
Balloon launched by: Raven Aerostar
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven Cyclone
Flight identification number: HBAL0312
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 8/29/2019 at 16:45 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 6 h
Landing site: NE of Yankton, South Dakota, US