What is a balloon flight campaign?

Did you know?

Fact number 1

The volume of the largest open stratospheric balloons used by Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) can be up to 1,200,000 m3.

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.

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.

Fact number 4

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

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).

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the French space agency (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)) usually arrive at the launch site two weeks in advance to prepare the equipment that will be used during the campaign.

Once all of the setup is complete, the campaign begins. Each campaign lasts between 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the number of balloons to be launched. On average, there are 10 balloon launches per campaign and 3 to 4 days are anticipated for each operation. Balloon launches are always very dependent on weather conditions, which is why they normally take place early in the morning or later in the evening, when winds are at their lowest.  During launch operation, the surface wind cannot exceed 2.5 to 4 metres/second depending on the size of the balloon.

The final flight concludes the campaign. The two weeks that follow are used for storing equipment and post-campaign meetings.