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Balloon Flight 2005 of the HERO Payload

Launched 2005 May 9

launch picture


This page reports progress of the Spring 2005 HERO balloon flight campaign. The HERO payload consists of 96 full-shell electro-formed nickel-replicated optics grouped into 8 modules and focusing onto 8 separate Xe-filled gas scintillation proportional counter detectors (energy resolution about 5% FWHM throughout the 20-70 keV bandpass). This combination provides over 80 sq. cm of collecting area in the energy range 20-50 keV and nearly 20 sq. cm at 70 keV. The sensitivity is of order 2e-5 photons/cm2/s/keV in a typical 3 hour observation. The mirrors have a 6 meter focal length.

2005 May 13

(summarized from email from Brian) They found the softest, flattest field in the country to put the payload down. It's in perfect shape. It landed gently in a newly plowed field in Kansas and stood perfectly upright (see landing picture). It arrived back this morning and we can find no signs of any damage. It is all being shipped back so that we can check everything over.

2005 May 11

The HERO payload was brought down early yesterday morning and has been recovered in good condition. Thanks to everyone involved for their HEROic efforts!

2005 May 9 8:20am Mountain Time

Balloon has launched!

Pictures will be updated as they become available...LIVE pictures are available from a camera called Cosmocam, a camera mounted on the gondola (follow the links) LAUNCH PICTURES courtesy of Ed Smith and Dharma Sharma.

There is also a Student Experiment Module flying as part of the balloon payload (click on SB-03 to see details of their payload; it is quite impressive).

2005 May 8

(summarized from email from Brian) We tried to launch Saturday and Sunday mornings, rolling out in the early hours. No luck however. We got out on the flight line, with everything laid out, but the low-level winds, those at 500'-1000', were too high and we had to cancel. We'll be trying again Monday morning.

2005 May 5

(summarized from email from Brian) Sounding balloon data indicate winds at our altitude 20 knots to the West (i.e. post turnaround) but satellite data show the winds derived from temperature measurements to be very low; in turnaround conditions. We turned up this morning at 2 am for a possible flight, but had to cancel around 6 am due to fog that rolled in. The next opportunity looks to be Saturday, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

2005 May 4

The spring 2005 payload is ready for flight from the National Scientific Balloon Facility in Ft. Sumner, NM. The crew is awaiting optimal weather conditions on a day-to-day basis.

Images of some of the payload preparation are available, courtesy of Ed Smith, see Pre-launch preparation PICTURES below.

More information on the HERO program and an associated NASA Science News story from the Spring 2001 flight are still available.

Pre-launch preparation PICTURES from latest campaign.
Tuesday, May 04 2005

The current status of flights at the National Scientific Balloon Facility are tracked by a realtime GPS:

NSBF Realtime GPS data

Hero Logo Jpeg
Editor: Dr. Douglas Swartz
System Administrator: Mr. Bob Dean
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