Sunday, August 23, 2015

New status update from the PI

BARREL Status Report #12
August 22, 2015

Payload 3E was launched on Friday, August 21 at 0705 UT. The balloon survived the night and is currently back up at 36 km altitude. It's currently drifting slowly towards the border with Finland so will likely be terminated later today. 

We have one more launch planned for the campaign. Right now, it looks like Tuesday will be the next opportunity. 

Cheers


Robyn

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Video of a launch

... Well part of a launch.



We finally got some good video's of a launch! Thanks to Greg's go pro you can see some of the inflation and the release  of the payload 3C launch. We're working on getting the video up for the balloon floating away as well.


Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Status update from the PI

BARREL Status Report #11
August 19, 2015

Payload 3C was terminated on August 18 at 0333 UT. As expected, the balloon started to drop in altitude after sunset. As the sun rose a few hours later, it began to heat the balloon. We hoped the balloon would rise again as happened during our late-season Antarctic flights. It was a real nail-biter, but alas, the balloon was low enough that the cooling due to the surrounding air won the battle over solar heating; it continued to sink and had to be cut down. Thanks to the Esrange ops team for giving it a fair chance to pull through!  It was a bit heartbreaking to see the balloon come down but I will say that it was a fantastic flight and our longest yet. The payload came down very close to Kiruna about 2 km from a road, so was recovered in excellent condition today. 

Payload 3D was launched this morning, August 19 at 6:02 UT. Unfortunately, the balloon was drifting too far north and close to a large town in Norway. So, it was terminated at 12:50 UT. Despite the short flight, very intense precipitation was detected for several hours.  

The next launch attempt is planned for Friday morning.

Cheers,
Robyn

Monday, August 17, 2015

Status report from the PI

BARREL Status Report #10
August 17, 2015

The third BARREL payload (3C) was launched today at roughly 1208 UT. Just a reminder that you can track the payload progress at the BARREL SOC website:


Click on "Maps" to see the payload track (shown in green - the previous flights are in blue and red).  The Data Browser allows you to plot real-time summary data if you're interested. 

Geomagnetic activity has been increasing over the last few days and we are currently experiencing a moderate geomagnetic storm. The payload is not following the predicted trajectory but is moving relatively slowly for now so we are hoping for a flight at least as long as the previous one (fingers crossed!).

Also, you may have noticed that I didn't send out a status report for the past few days. The weather was not favorable for a launch yesterday so there was nothing to report, and I didn't think you needed me filling up your inbox with nonsense. Since we are only launching every few days, I will only send out status reports when there is something to report. 

Best
Robyn

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Update from the PI

BARREL Status Report #9
August 13, 2015

The second BARREL payload (3B) was launched today at 04:30 UT. Shortly after the balloon reached float altitude, geomagnetic activity increased (Kp=4) and we began to detect precipitation. Later in the day, we also captured another excellent conjunction with the Van Allen Probes. We're excited to look at the data more closely after the CDF files are processed!

The payload is currently on its way down. It was terminated at 17:18 UT because it was starting to drift towards the mountains. This payload carried one of Univ. of Houston's student piggyback experiments. Their data are all recorded on board so we are anxious to recover this payload!

We are targeting the next Van Allen conjunction on August 16 for our next launch. As always, launch will depend on surface conditions. But, the upper level winds are slowing down and should be favorable for even longer flights. 

Cheers,
Robyn

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Status update from the PI

BARREL Status Report #8
August 12, 2015

The first BARREL payload (3A) was recovered by helicopter in the morning on Tuesday, August 11.  The magnetometer boom was bent out of shape,  but the payload was otherwise in good shape and functioning. 

The BARREL team is aiming for another launch tomorrow morning (Aug. 13) at 0600 local time. Here's to low winds! 

-Robyn

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Status update from the PI

BARREL Status Report #7
August 10, 2015

Well, it's been a busy and successful day for the BARREL team! After a successful flight compatibility test and launch dress rehearsal this morning, we held a Flight Readiness Review with Esrange and everything was GO for launch.

Payload 3A was launched at 1550 local time (1350 UT). We expected a short flight because of the upper level winds, but were able to capture a near-perfect conjunction with the two Van Allen Probe spacecraft. The payload was headed towards some large lakes and mountains, so was terminated at 23:18 local time (21:18 UT). Recovery looks promising. 

Attached is a picture from shortly after the launch that Alexa posted on our blog.  
The next launch opportunity will not be until at least Wednesday.

All for now!

-Robyn