BARREL (Balloon Array for Radiation belt Relativistic Electron Losses) is a multiple-balloon investigation that will study Earth's Radiation Belts.
Atmospheric losses of relativistic electrons play an important role in radiation belt dynamics; precipitation into the atmosphere may even completely deplete the radiation belts in some cases.
BARREL is the first NASA Living With a Star Geospace Mission of Opportunity, and will support NASA's RBSP (Radiation Belt Storm Probes) mission.
We launched Payload 1G from Halley today at 1235 UT. It was a beautiful day (see photo). It's hard to believe that the wind was blowing at 35 knots just last night! The payload is currently a bit west of Halley, above 36 km altitude.
We also terminated payload 1J. If you recall, this was the first BARREL payload launched (on January 1), dedicated to the memory of Bob Lin. It was still above 27 km altitude after 13 days! We terminated it just past McMurdo, near the Van Allen Mountains. Brett coined this balloon "The Little Balloon that Did" :)
Geomagnetic activity has been picking up over the last couple of days!
SANAE is still hoping for a launch opportunity on Tuesday if the winds die down or Wednesday but the most recent forecast wasn't that encouraging. We'll get another update tomorrow. At Halley, we may have opportunities Wednesday or Friday, but we'll wait to see what happens at SANAE.