Aura Validation Balloon Campaign, Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, Sep 2005

The JPL MkIV interferometer will perform a balloon flight from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico (34.4N, 104.2W), during September 2005 in order to measure profiles of atmospheric trace gases of relevance to the AURA sensors. High signal-to-noise ratio solar occultation spectra will be measured throughout the mid-infrared region (650-5650 cm-1) at high spectral resolution (0.01 cm-1) at sunrise and sunset. These spectra will allow the simultaneous retrieval of profiles of more than 30 different atmospheric gases including O3 and H2O and NO2 which will also be measured by the HIRDLS and TES instruments on board the AURA spacecraft. On the same gondola will be the Far Infrared Spectrometer (FIRS-2), the Stratospheric Limb Sounder (SLS-2), Balloon OH terahertz hetrodyne spectrometer (BOH), and the in-situ O3 photometer. A second payload participating in the Aura validation campaign consists of the Cryogenic Whole Air Sampler (CWAS, PI: Elliot Atlas, U Miami) and the ozone photometer.

The total payload weight is 3680 lbs. This includes the instruments, gondola, azimuth pointing system, batteries, the NSBF TM/TC system, crush pads, and recovery tools. MkIV is powered by 10 lithium batteries each weighing 11 lbs and providing a capacity of 35 AH at 28 V. The gondola dimensions are 6 ft. x 6 ft. x 18 ft. It will be launched on a balloon of 39 MCF volume (1.4 M m3), and will reach 40 km float altitude.

Latest Update:

Sep 24, 2005: Payload returned to JPL.

Sep 23, 2005: Payload recovered by helicopter this morning (photos courtesy of Bob Stachnik).

Sep 21, 2005: Terminated at 13:46 UT. Impact point is expected to be ~5 miles East of Parker, Arizona. All instruments worked well. JPL MkIV instrument got sunrise transition, in addition to yesterday's sunset (photo courtesy of Fred Perrin).

Sep 20, 2005: Launched at 16:03 UT (10:03 LT)

Sep 19, 2005: Launch attempt scrubbed. Low level winds too strong again.

But at least we got to see a pretty sunrise.

Sep 18, 2005: Launch attempt scrubbed. Low level winds too strong.

Sep 16, 2005: Declared flight ready -- 3 days ahead of schedule.

Gondola Assembly, Sep 15, 2005.

Weight Breakdown (Sep-16):

Item2004 Weight2005 Weight
MkIV (10)790790
FIRS (7)740740
BOH (14)635635
SLS (3)185185
O3 (3)098
Az Drive (3)200200
Stump Ring140129
Crush Pads8898
Misc NSBF3436
Grand Total46505000


1) Numbers in parentheses are numbers of batteries, which weigh 11 lbs each. Instrument weights include batteries.

2) ???? is the extra weight by which this gondola exceeds the prediction based on last year's weight. Since the scale is probably good to only 1%, this is not a concern.

3) 3680 lbs is the gondola weight measured by NSBF on Sep 16, 2005

4) 5000 lbs is the total allowed suspended weight, limited by the azimuth rotator.

5) "Misc NSBF" is mainly the ballast hoppers and valves.

6) The bottom crush-pads weigh 12 lbs each and the side crush-pads 10 lbs each. giving a total of 4*10+4*12=88 lbs. Adding straps, brackets and bolts brings the total to 98 lbs.

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