Purpose of the flight and payload description

In future space advances, the development of atmospheric entry technology will be essential to realize a high-frequency space transportation system. In this context Japan's Space Transportation System Laboratory (STL) has been developing a new capsule to allow sample return from deep space. The system is based on a lightweight, large, thin-shell conical aeroshell with a low ballistic coefficient, and one of its major features is that it can descend to the ground without the need for a parachute. One of the technological elements needed to realize this new concept capsule is to deepen the understanding of the dynamic aerodynamic stability of the capsule, especially during the low subsonic regimen descent phase. Therefore, to simulate that part of the mission a small rubber balloon was used to get a model of the system to an altitude of 30 km and let it free-fall from that height to acquire aerodynamic data of the capsule as it descended to the sea.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 7/8/2023 at 5:31 JST
Launch site: Multipurpose Aviation Research Field, Taiki-Cho, Hokkaido, Japan  
Balloon launched by: Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Weather Balloon  
Flight identification number: BS23-07
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 7/8/2023 at ~ 7:30 jst
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): ~ 2 h
Landing site: In the Pacific Ocean, 110 km E of Taiki, Japan

The rubber balloon of 11 meters of diameter was launched as mission BS23-07 from Taiki Aerospace Research Field at 5:31 jst (Japan Standard Time) on July 8th, 2023. After a nominal ascent at 360 meters per minute, it reached a maximum altitude of 28 km on the Pacific Ocean about 50 km east of Taiki. The total climb time was 1 hour and 19 minutes. Once the balloon reached that altitude the payload was jettisoned and slowly descended to the Pacific Ocean about 110 km east of Taiki.

External references

Images of the mission

The test capsule (Image: ISAS/JAXA) Balloon release in early morning at Taiki  (Image: ISAS/JAXA)      

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