SOLVE2 Campaign, Esrange, Sweden, 2002/3

The JPL MkIV interferometer will perform balloon flights from Esrange, Sweden (67.9N, 21.1E), during the winter of 2002/3 in order to measure profiles of atmospheric trace gases of relevance to the second SAGE III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment (SOLVE2). 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 or 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 SAGE III instrument. Simultaneous MkIV observations of NO, NO2 and N2O5 will also place constraints on the SAGE III measurements of NO3. On the same gondola will be the in-situ O3 photometer (PI: Margitan, JPL).

The total payload weight is 630 kg. This includes the instruments, gondola, azimuth pointing system, batteries, the CNES TM/TC system, crush pads, and recovery tools. This equipment is powered by 13 lithium batteries each weighing 5 kg and providing a capacity of 35 AH at 28 V. The gondola dimensions are 1.35m x 1.60m x 2.25m. It will be launched on a balloon of 150,000 m3 (5 MCF) capacity, reaching a 32.7 km float altitude.

Latest Update (Dec-17):

MkIV gondola was launched Dec 16 at 04:59 UT. Terminated at 10:07 UT. Landed in Russia about 100 km SW of Murmansk. Payload was recovered the next day by helicopter and was taken to Murmansk to clear customs. MkIV spectra look very nice.

Picture Gallery

Thanks to Jess Landeros, Bhaswar Sen, and Geoff Toon for many of the photos.

Preparing the MkIV gondola. Esrange, Sweden, Nov 24, 2002

Unpacking the equipment inside the "Cathedral" building at Esrange.

Jean-François Blavier checks the alignment of the MkIV suntracker. This is done using a quartz halogen lamp and a collimator because the Sun is never visible from Esrange from mid-November until late January. Meanwhile, Dave Petterson connects the AzDrive electronics.

More photographs showing the testing of the MkIV suntracker and illustrating how it is protected by the "Iron Maiden".

Testing the azimuth control system inside the MAXUS rocket launch building at Esrange (Nov 28). This building is very tall, allowing us to suspend the gondola from a simulated flight train.

Despite the MAXUS building being heated, it was pretty cold inside (-6C), but nowhere near as cold as outside (-27C). Rebecca "3-Hat" Washenfelder demonstrates to the MkIV team how to eliminate heat-loss, while Geoff "hexadecimal" Toon steers the gondola.

Rebecca's 26'th Birthday: A Swedish marzipan ice-cream cake.

Magnetometer calibration, Nov 30'th. The pointing of the MkIV gondola is controlled by a magnetometer. This must be calibrated outside, since the buildings contain alot of steel which distorts the Earth's magnetic field.

Various pretty PSC pictures, Dec 6-10, 2002.

Kirunavaare, Dec 10, 2002.

Visit to the Ice Hotel, Dec 14, 2002.

The once-quaint Ice Hotel can now accomodate 800 people, 5 per igloo.

Rebecca and Jean-François display their mastery of the ice xylophone.

The short-cut through the trees to Hotel Dilbert. The Esrange Fox: smarter than the average fox (or JPL'er).

Launch Day, Dec 16, 2002.

Checking the MkIV gondola prior to pick-up.

The MkIV gondola is maneuvered beneath two auxiliary balloons, which are anchored to a truck.

Ten minutes before launch. The main (hydrogen) balloon is on the left, and the two auxiliary (helium) balloons above the MkIV gondola on the right. The white smoke is exhaust from the truck that is anchoring the auxiliary balloons. The temperature was -19C on the launch pad.

The trajectory of the MkIV payload from Esrange across Finland and into Russia.

Jean-François and Bhaswar watch the interferogram data come in during the flight.

More pretty PSC pictures, Dec 18, 2002.

Recovery of gondola, Dec 20, 2002.

MkIV gondola after its 20 hour journey from Murmansk, Russia

Team Photograph, Dec 6, 2002.

Back Row:

Jean-François "Expresso-Choc" Blavier,
Dave "Shackleton" Petterson,
Geoff "hexa-decimal" Toon,
Rebecca "3-Hat" Washenfelder.

Front Row:

Jess "Outfoxed" Landeros,
Bhaswar Sen.


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