This flight was part of the developmental effort being carried out by HALO Space, a Spain-based firm, towards offering balloon-based near-space touristic manned flights starting in 2024.
Very few details has been disclosed about the project. The only information available is that the final design of the pressurized capsule to be used in the manned flights will be capable of accommodating up to 8 passengers and a pilot and would provide 360° views of the surrounding atmosphere and the earth below, through panoramic windows located around the capsule. It will weight about 800 kg, and will be 5 meters wide and 3.5 meters high. The structure was designed like an orange, and is made up of eight segments attached to a base and a roof. A four point attachment system will link the capsule with the balloon.
The capsule will count with a real-time flight navigation system that will plan the route with real-time flight data and a communication system that will be used to communicate between the flight control center and the base. At the end of the flight a parafoil navigation system will allow the pilot to manouver the capsule to a safe landing.
TEST CAPSULE FLIGHT
The test was performed using a real-size model of the capsule structure with some instrumentation inside to measure different flight parameters. However, it only resembled the final capsule in the shape it had. No landing parafoil system, transparent windows or legs for landing were included. The capsule was built during 2022 in the companies's workshops in Spain and upon completion it was dissasembled, and shipped to India in late November for the test during 2022/2023 launch season in Hyderabad.
Balloon launched on: 12/7/2022 at ~ 5:30 IST
Launch site: TIFR National Balloon Facility, Hyderabad, India
Balloon launched by: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 12/7/2022
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 4 h
Landing site: In Vikarabad, Telangana State, India
Payload weight: 800 kg
The balloon was launched from the TIFR National Balloon Facility in Hyderabad about 5:30 India Standard Time (IST) on December 7th, 2022. After a nominal ascent the balloon reached flight altitude and remained aloft for several hours. After detaching the capsule from the balloon, it landed in an open field near the village of Mogaligidda in Vikarabad district of the Telangana State.
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