Purpose of the flight and payload description
LAURA stands for Long durAtion evalUation solaR hand LAunch. It was an engineering test flight, led by NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, aimed to use specially built solar panels to extend the science capability of the hand launch platform from a few days in flight to long-duration flights. Hand-launched balloons are small zero-pressure balloons that can be launched without the need of heavy machinery or special vehicles and with a minimum staff.
The new solar panels would increase its useful life as they are limited by the amount and weight of batteries used for powering the science and balloon instruments.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 12/10/2023 at 23:00 utc
Launch site: Williams Field, McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Balloon launched by: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
Flight identification number: 735NT
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 12/26/2023 at 18:30 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 15 d 17 h
Landing site: In the Ronne Ice Shelf, 170 km S of Belgrano II base, Antarctica