Purpose of the flight and payload description

The purpose of this test flight was to demonstrate that the Differential Segmented Aperture (DSA) is an enabling technology for high-altitude and space systems. The balloon carried a CubeSat payload having DSA's on the top and the bottom of the suspended gondola connected to low cost RF and digital equipment. The near-space environment of the stratosphere simulated some of the challenges of operating the DSA in low earth orbit (LEO). In addition, typical stratospheric balloon platforms utilize traditional antennas (patch, monopole, and dipole) for Sat Com and or telemetry. The system for tracking, command, and receive is the need for multiple antennas, one or more per signal of interest (SOI), resulting in an increase in system size, weight, power requirements, and cost ( SWAP-C ) while decreasing function agility. Obviously, balloon and space platforms are extremely SWAP limited so any performance gains have direct impact on mission availability. The successful test of the DSA demonstrated a potential means to consolidate the multiple antennas currently used in most stratospheric balloon platforms and promote the DSA as an innovative antenna for spacecraft.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 10/16/2020
Launch site: Sisters Eagle Airport, Oregon, US  
Balloon launched by: ISTAR (International Science Technology And Research)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven Aerostar - 300.000 cuft
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 10/16/2020 at 20:50 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): ~ 4 h
Landing site: SE of Paulina, Oregon, US
Payload weight: 36 lbs

The balloon was hand launched from Sisters Eagle Airport on the morning of October 16, 2020 reaching an altitude of 37.46m (121,545 feet) and maintained flight for approximately 2 hours. The flight was terminated by IRIDIUM commands at 20:50 UTC the afternoon of the day of the launch. The payload impacted in the area SE of Paulina, OR near White Butte Creek. Recovery of the flight system and payload ocurred a couple of days after.

External references

Images of the mission


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