OLIMPO balloon successfully launched from Svalbard

OLIMPO balloon launch

The Italian scientific balloon mission OLIMPO was successfully launched on July 14 at 07:07 UTC from Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

After a slow ascent, the balloon reached a float altitude of 37 800 m after 5 hours. The trajectory of the balloon took it westwards out over the Arctic Ocean, Greenland and Canada.

On July 19 at 01:58 UTC the balloon was commanded to land on Ellesmere Island, the northernmost island of Canada. Recovery operations are underway and are expected to be completed within a week.

The purpose of this challenging project is to map the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect in many clusters of galaxies, both in the Northern and in the Southern hemispheres.