Purpose of the flight and payload description

The flight was a simulated test of a instrument destined to be installed onboard the Pionner Venus Probe, a spacecraft launched in 1978 to explore Venus as part of NASA's Pioneer program.

The spectrometer objective was to measure Venus' cloud particle sizes and concentrations. A laser was used to illuminate cloud particles. Optical lenses imaged the particle shadows on arrays of detectors. The particle shadows were used to determine particle size and concentration.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 4/15/1972
Launch site: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, Palestine, Texas, US  
Balloon launched by: National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven - 80.000 cuft (1.5 mil) - X-124
Flight identification number: 668P
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 4/15/1972
Payload weight: 237 lbs

Postal cover issued on launch day commemorating the flight

External references

If you consider this website interesting or useful, you can help me to keep it up and running with a small donation to cover the operational costs. Just the equivalent of the price of a cup of coffee helps a lot.