Development and Flight Test of Affordable Scientific Balloon System Suitable for Sea Recovery
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A reasonable solution to retrieve a payload of a scientific balloon regardless of safety issues and recoverability is the sea recovery strategy. Sea recovery strategy is a unique retrieval method being pioneered by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) for decades. This strategy has contributed to the achievement of various scientific and engineering research missions in Japan, such as in atmospheric observation and space environment simulation. However, in spite of a long history of conducting sea recovery strategy by JAXA/ISAS, to the best of the author’s knowledge, there have been few published works on designing and manufacturing balloon systems suitable for sea recovery operations due to the rarity of this recovery method. This paper presents a detailed description of a system for a small zero-pressure balloon (ZPB) platform designed for sea recovery operations. For this, a small ZPB platform using affordable commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products was developed with careful consideration of maritime telecommunication, water resistance, short-circuit prevention, and flotation. In addition to reducing the overall cost by using COTS products, it enabled miniaturization of the telemetry, tracking and command system to enhance portability. The results of the latest flight tests were also described including the sea retrieval strategy to verify the reliability of the developed balloon system.
KeywordsZero-pressure balloon Stratospheric balloon Flight test Scientific ballooning Tracking, telemetry and command system Sea recovery
This research was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2017R1A5A1015311 and 2015M1A3A3A02027433), administered via the Institute of Advanced Aerospace Technology at Seoul National University. The authors would like to thank Professor Tetsuya Yoshida of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (JAXA/ISAS) for their valuable advice on this research project.
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