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.
This year's campaign is starting to come together. We'll be shipping everything off in mid July so only a month and a bit to get all of it put together.
Unlike the previous two campaigns, we'll be flying in the northern hemisphere during turn around. It's a period when the stratospheric winds are changing directions so the balloons should hopefully stay relatively close by. This will make it easy to predict where conjunctions will be with nearby ground stations and satellites. Hopefully it will also make it easy to collect the payloads once they have been terminated! That means we could have multiple flights per payload. It also means that we could still have payloads to fly again next year *fingers crossed*.
Like the previous campaigns we'll be coordinating bursting with the Van Allen Probes. We'll again have daily e-mails and daily telecoms, but this time it might have to be via google hangouts. (Just a heads up for those interested). If you have an instrument that you would like to coordinate with BARREL please let us know.
We've also got a new and exciting lineup of other instrument teams who we'll be working with. Over the next few weeks we'll try to highlight the different groups. Each of the new groups will give us a new look at a new piece of the puzzle, just as the Van Allen Probes have. This year has the promise of being a tour de force of measurements!