Purpose of the flight and payload description

LODEWAVE stands for Long-Duration Balloon Experiment of Gravity WAVE over Antarctica and was an initiative carried out in early 2022 to obtain the horizontal distribution of the gravity wave momentum transport in the Antarctic region where the gravity wave activity is high compared with other regions. These observations were complemented with the vertical distribution obtained from the PANSY (Program of the Antarctic Syowa MST/IS radar) system on the ground. The project was carried out during the 63th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition by teams of the National Institute of Polar Research, the University of Tokyo and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.


The balloon was of the super-pressure type with a volume of 180 m3. It counted with a pressure resistance of 1200 Pa or more, and low gas permeability being able to transport a payload of up to 3 kg at a constant altitude of 18-19 km for 10 days or more. The main balloon was made of polyethylene and was covered along the outer surface with a vectran net, which allowed to improve the pressure resistance performance. Inside the main balloon was placed a rubber balloon on which the lifting gas was injected. The double-layered structure helped to reduce the gas permeability.


The balloon equipment used in this project was suspended on the super-pressure balloon. It collected the three-dimensional position information and in-situ pressure and temperature every 30 seconds and sent the data through the Iridium satellite system once every 7.5 or 10 minutes. It also received commands from ground operators through the Iridium satellite. Also a destruction sequence or the start of the heaters in the gondola could be commnded using this system. The total weight of the equipment was 2.70 kg, being designed to comply with the light balloon rule of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 2/4/2022
Launch site: Syowa Station, Antarctica  
Balloon launched by: National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Super Pressure Balloon 180 m3
Flight identification number: SPB02
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 2/6/2022
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 35 h

External references

Images of the mission


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