The First Series of Scientific Ballooning Experiments in FY2002
The first series of scientific ballooning experiments in 2002 was conducted at Sanriku Balloon Center from May 14 through June 4. A total of 5 scientific balloons (one BU5, one BU60, one B15, one B30 and one B80) was launched. The launch of BT5-21 initially included in this experiment series was postponed to the second series in 2002 due to unfavorable wind in the upper atmosphere.
BU5-1 was launched to verify performance of the small, light GPS Argos System that had been developed by the Science of Ballooning Division of ISAS as part of a system that ensures recovery of scientific balloons and instruments. The experiment via NOAA satellite went smoothly, obtaining the desired results.
BU60-1 was launched to verify for the first time the flight performance of an ultra-thin film high-altitude balloon with a volume of 60,000m3, which had been developed to fly an observation instrument with a weight of around 10kg to an altitude of over 50km. The balloon ascended smoothly at an average speed of 265m per minute, and successfully reached the highest altitude of 53.0km, which brought us a brilliant success of renewing the world record altitude of 51.8km for the first time in 30 years.
B80-7 was launched to make close observations on the hard X-ray emission spectrum from solar flares via 16 CdTe detectors newly developed by the National Institute of Polar Research. All onboard instruments performed normally during the flight and successfully observed an M1.2-class solar flare around 15:30 JST. The data obtained this time is expected to elucidate the mechanism of particle acceleration.
B30-70 was launched to verify the performance of a large-scale photovoltaic power generator that will be used in the Antarctic orbiting balloon experiments project planned jointly by Kobe University and High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, as well as aerodynamics during its ascent and descent. The amount of power generated by the solar battery system during the flight and the temperature of each section were measured, and the expected performance level of onboard instruments was verified while observing via video detail behavior of the solar battery system from its launch to decent on a parachute.
B15-83 was launched to obtain data on the low frequency electromagnetic environment near Japan as well as to conduct a preliminary test of the Antarctic orbiting balloon project, which is a joint program now underway between National Institute of Polar Research and ISAS and scheduled for launch from Showa Station from the end of December 2002 to January 2003.
Valuable data was obtained on the sensitivity of an enormous loop antenna with a diameter of 40m that surrounds a large scientific balloon and on a wireless data link between instruments vertically positioned 100m apart by lowering device.
September 9, 2002