Purpose of the flight and payload description

The need to improve the performance of scientific observations using large structures such as large telescopes, rises the requirement of a new technology for maintaining the shape of large structures with high accuracy. In this context, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA is developing a technology that measures the deformation of large structures with high accuracy. The usefulness of the displacement measurement technology under development has been confirmed by ground tests, but further demonstration was required for balloon experiments and satellite use. Therefore, in this balloon mission a metric-scale measurement target structure and measurement equipment were mounted in one package, and deformation of the measurement target structure was artificially generated by thermal expansion in the flying environment of an atmospheric sphere. By measuring the displacement with a laser displacement meter with an accuracy on the order of micrometer, the agency aims to demonstrate the function of the displacement measurement system.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 7/9/2021 at 3:33 jst
Launch site: Multipurpose Aviation Research Field, Taiki-Cho, Hokkaido, Japan  
Balloon launched by: ISAS / JAXA
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon model B15 15.000 m3
Flight identification number: B21-08
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 7/9/2021 at 6:33 jst
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 3 h
Landing site: In the Pacific Ocean, 30 km E of Taiki, Japan

The balloon was launched from the balloon base of Taiki, in Hokkaido Island at 3:33 Japan Standard Time (JST) on July 9th, 2021. The 15.000 m3 balloon ascended at a speed of about 240 m per minute. At 5:40 JST it reached float altitude of 29 kilometers, above the Pacific Ocean about 40 km east of the launch site. After that, at 5:58 JST, the payload was separated from the balloon by telecommand and slowly descended to the sea about 30 km east of the Taiki Aerospace Experiment Station. Both elements were recovered by the recovery ship by 6:31 JST.

External references

Images of the mission


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