Purpose of the flight and payload description

HEMERA is a Research Infrastructure funded by the Horizon 2020 framework Programme of the European Union which integrates a large starting community in the field of tropospheric and stratospheric balloon-borne research, to make existing balloon facilities available to all scientific teams in the European Union, Canada and associated countries. The complementary of the HEMERA members capabilities in the field of balloon systems and operations will offer an easy and enhanced service to the scientific community. A wide range of scientific and technical themes are addressed, such as astronomy, atmospheric physics and chemistry, climate research, fundamental physics, biology, space research and technology.

The HEMERA project sets up a large consortium dealing with balloon-borne research, that will encompass 13 partners from seven countries including space agencies, balloon companies and scientists from the atmospheric sciences, astronomy and astrophysics communities.

The payload was composed by six different experiments which were acomodated in a "Octogon" gondola similar to the one used for the BEXUS student program. The experiments that were part of this flight were:

STRAINS, coordinated and supported by ASI, is a project of the "La Sapienza" University of Rome, Italy, led by Prof. Santoni. Its goal is to study the long distance tracking of the stratospheric balloons, by using the TDOA (Time Difference of Arrival) and FDOA (Frequency Difference of Arrival) techniques. The experiment is developed by the S5Lab research group at ''la Sapienza" and by its students. In order to exploit such tracking techniques, the stratospheric unit mainly broughts transmitting antennas on-board, while five mobile stations in Sweden received the dummy signals from the stratosphere to evaluate the balloon position.

DUSTER, coordinated and supported by ASI, is a project of INAF led by Dr. Vincenzo Della Corte and Prof. Alessandra Rotundi. This instrument collects and retrieves stratospheric solid aerosol. The aim is to analize these particles in the laboratories in order to better understand the origin of the Solar System.

GRASS, supported by the HEMERA program, ASI, and AHEAD, is an INAF project led by Dr. Lorenzo Natalucci. The instrument is a small, innovative gamma-ray detector aimed at measure the parameters of the cosmic and atmospheric background in the north pole region. This is fundamental to correctly analize the high energy data.

BAMARA is a DLR project of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the German Aerospace Center. The instrument is a complex mass spectrometer which includes a cryopump operated with liquid neon (-250º Celsius). The aim is to measure trace gases and ion clusters connected to the man-made emissions, in order to understand how these emissions alter the properties of the aerosol layer, in particular in the light of changing emissions of sulfur dioxide.

B-TRUE is a Finnish experiment from Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory aimed to measuring the characteristics of the electrons in the high atmosphere using a silicon telescope.

SRATOBUS is an experiment managed by Thales-Alenia Toulon (France) to test the Emergency Recovery Capacity (ERC) for the STRATOBUS program. The flight is part of a bigger project within CNES concerning establishing a network of blimps at 19-21 km. The test experiment was designed to better understand how to "detonate" the envelope of the blimps in case of loss of control. Stratobus was mounted on a separate gondola hanging below the HEMERA gondola.

Coverage of the mission by INAF news

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 9/11/2021 at 9:53 utc
Launch site: European Space Range, Kiruna, Sweden  
Balloon launched by: Swedish Space Corporation (SSC)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon 150.000 m3
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 9/11/2021 at (L) ~ 19:00 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 9 h
Landing site: In Finland near the Russian Federation border

External references

Images of the mission

The gondola being readied for launch at ESRANGE's launch pad Balloon inflation Initial ascent of the balloon after payload release The balloon at float altitude of 33 km as seen from ESRANGE The gondola after landing in the woods in Finland

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