AUSTRAL 2017

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).

On April 9, 2017, six Canadian payloads flew on a stratospheric balloon from Alice Springs, Australia. The balloon performed a 10-hour mission at an altitude of 36 km. After being tested, the Aerosol Limb Imager tool V2 and the Imaging Fabry-Pérot Spectrometer instrument are now available for future satellite missions.

  1. Aerosol Limb Imager Version 2 (ALI V2)

    Developed by the University of Saskatchewan, ALI V2 is an atmospheric monitoring tool that can measure the concentration of aerosols—tiny dispersed particles—in the upper atmosphere using a unique optical device. The instrument is an improved version of a prototype designed and constructed by the University of Saskatchewan that was successfully deployed on a stratospheric balloon in 2014. The upgraded version of ALI can detect a wider range of optical wavelengths, allowing it to more precisely measure the size of aerosol particles. Aerosols play an important role in climate change by scattering sunlight away from the Earth.

  2. Imaging Fabry-Pérot Spectrometer (IFPS)

    Jointly developed by York University and MPB Communications Inc., this instrument is an improved version of a technology that was successfully tested on a stratospheric balloon in 2016. It allowed the team to test the modifications made to the filter, actuators and optics in order to improve the performance of the imager for future space missions. The objectives were to obtain accurate, detailed, simultaneous, and collocated high-resolution measurements of molecular oxygen in the 20–40 km altitude range; and to simultaneously retrieve information on surface pressure, aerosols, and surface albedo from the measurements.

  3. Optical Particle Counters (OPC) Package

    The OPC package aimed to sample the stratospheric air from the balloon platform and measure aerosol size and concentration. The package consisted of a suite of three existing OPC instruments: Condensation Nuclei Counter, Wyoming OPC, and New OPC. The objectives were to provide validation of satellite limb scattering observations, enable synergistic and corroborative aerosol measurements for use with the Aerosol Limb Imager (ALI) measurements, and contribute to the scientific record of in-situ size-resolved stratospheric aerosol measurements to further understanding of volcanic influence and aerosol formation and transport. This project was carried out by the University of Saskatchewan, in collaboration with the University of Colorado and the University of Wyoming.

  4. GPS and Data Logger Breadboard

    The goal of this multi-purpose electronics box was to record and provide the location and attitude of the gondola during the entire flight. In addition, the instrument monitored, through various sensors, the health of other components onboard the gondola. It included an onboard storage capacity for telemetry data and two high-definition cameras. This instrument was an improved version of a technology developed by a group of students from École de technologie supérieure, which was successfully tested on a stratospheric balloon in 2016. Further development was carried out by the CSA.

  5. Power Subsystem Breadboard

    This modular subsystem consisted of a set of Li-ion batteries and a power distribution unit. It was developed by the CSA for STRATOS flights to provide required power to payloads.

  6. RumbleSat Art Package

    As part of the RumbleSat Art in Space Mission, a University of Calgary research project, the first RumbleSat I mission payload consisted of 64 small works of art. After it returns to Earth, it began a cross-Canada tour on July 1, 2017, as part of the 150 Artists Celebrating Canada 150: the RumbleSat Art from the Edge of Space Exhibition.