Purpose of the flight and payload description

The scientific objective was to directly observe the movement of ionospheric plasma over a relatively wide area and over a long period of time using an all-sky camera flying in the stratosphere. The project was developed by the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, in Garching, Germany. This method constitutes one of the most important for the investigation of the general dynamics of the ionosphere, its plasma transport problems, its magnetic and electric fields, storms or solar influences that modify the physical characteristics of the ionized layers and the effects that they produced on the transmission and propagation of electromagnetic waves.

For this observation, it was chosen to focus the study on ionized magnesium, since it is found naturally in the upper atmosphere and, after ionized iron, constitutes the most frequent metallic ion in the ionosphere. Due to their long half-life at altitudes above 100 km and their main appearance in the E layer, these metal ions constitute an extremely useful element as tracers of ionospheric transport phenomena related to neutral winds.

The payload was composed by an all-sky camera coupled with an interference filter, UV-converter, image amplifier and a colour television camera system for controling the experiment from the ground.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 12/5/1978
Launch site: Third Air Brigade, Reconquista, Santa Fe, Argentine  
Balloon launched by: National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Winzen - 328.472 m3 (12.70 microns)
Flight identification number: 154N
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 12/6/1978
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): F 4 h 30 m
Payload weight: 400 kgs

External references

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