An Overview of High-Altitude Balloon Experiments at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics


We have initiated the High-Altitude Ballooning programme at Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, in the year 2011 with the primary purpose of developing and flying low-cost scientific payloads on a balloon-borne platform. The main aim is the observations of extended nearby objects (e.g. comets) and of diffuse sources (e.g. zodiacal light or airglow) with wide field of view (FOV) UV instruments from near space (20 to 30 km). A brief summary and the results of the tethered flights carried out at IIA CREST campus are given in Ref.~1. Here we present an overview of the nine free-flying balloon experiments conducted from March 2013 to November 2014. We describe the launch procedures, payloads, methods of tracking and recovery. Since we fall in the light balloon category --- payload weight is limited to less than 6 kg --- we use the 3-D printer to fabricate lightweight boxes and structures for our experiments. We discuss the flight and scientific data obtained from different launches and the development of the in-house lightweight sensors and controllers, as well as a fully-fledged 2-axis pointing and stabilization system, for the flights.Comment: 21 pages, 33 Figure

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