Stratospheric Balloons

Did you know? Fact number 1

The volume of the largest open stratospheric balloons used by CNES can be up to 1,200,000 m3.

Did you know? Fact number 2

The height of a deployed balloon, including the flight chain, is about 300 m, about half as tall as the CN Tower.

Did you know? Fact number 3

The envelope alone can be as high as a 35-floor building, or the height of the tower of Montreal's Olympic Stadium; and its diameter is equivalent to the size of 2 hockey rinks or 2 Airbus A-340s.

Did you know? Fact number 4

The area of the envelope, if deployed flat, is equivalent to approximately 8 soccer fields.

Did you know? Fact number 5

For more information on other types of balloons, visit the following website: www.cnes.fr/web/CNES-fr/8510-differents-types-de-ballons.php (French only).

STRATOS, the Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) stratospheric balloon program, was created in 2012 through the CSA's collaboration with France's space agency, Centre national d'études spatiales. This program gives Canadian academia and industry the opportunity to test and validate new technologies and to perform scientific experiments at an altitude where only balloons can be operated. STRATOS therefore contributes to the training and development of a highly qualified workforce: the next generation of Canadian engineers and scientists.

Since 2013, as part of STRATOS:

  • 20 balloons have been launched
  • 24 Canadian instruments/experiments have been flown
  • More than 100 Canadian scientists have participated

In addition, 80 students have been involved in the last three campaigns (2015-2017).

Upcoming Campaign

The Canadian space industry and academia will be part of a stratospheric balloon launch campaign over the next year. The 2018 campaign will take place at the Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Base in Ontario, Canada.

  • Four balloons will be launched
  • Seven Canadian scientific payloads will be flown, including two payloads developed by post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines
  • Two gondola subsystems will be commissioned

Details about the payloads and objectives of the mission will be available soon.

Stratos: the Canadian Space Agency Stratospheric Balloon Program

This video explains the CSA's Stratospheric Balloon Program, Stratos, and its benefits to Canada. The images were taken during the first balloon campaign in 2013 that took place in Timmins, Ontario, Canada.

Preparation of a balloon launch

This video demonstrates the different steps involved in the preparation of a stratospheric balloon launch. The images were filmed at the Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Base, in Ontario, Canada. (Credit: CSA)

Balloon launched during the Strato Science 2014 Campaign

Balloon launched during the Strato Science 2014 Campaign

Credit: CSA