September 6, 2019
After months of planning and testing, EU’s balloon infrastructure project HEMERA was launched this morning. The balloon – carrying two Italian, one Belgian, and one Czech research experiment – was successfully released from Esrange Space Center in Kiruna Thursday morning. The HEMERA project is sponsored by the EU with the aim of promoting international collaboration and increasing the availability of balloons as a research platform. SSC is one of 13 partners.
The mission aims to connect the research community when it comes to using balloons as a platform for scientific research. The four experiments onboard the balloon consisted of various types of atmospheric research, for example measuring radiation from space.
David Hagsved, Project Manager Rockets and Balloons at Esrange: ”This was the first time that we released a balloon within this program. There were of course some challenges but the scientists have been very accommodating and well prepared. We are experienced and have practiced working methods from similar projects before, allowing us to be ready. Our plan was to release the balloon sometime during a 9-day time-frame, but it happened on the first day, so we're very happy!”
The HEMERA balloon was successfully released at 06:42 Swedish time (04:42 UTC). The balloon reached a maximum altitude of 34.5 km, where it stayed for 3.5 hours before starting its planned descent. The SSC personnel reached the landing site in Northeastern Finland by helicopter at 11am on Thursday. Some instruments were then brought back immediately to Esrange the same afternoon, while a majority of the material was too heavy and is now waiting to be transported back by truck. Sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning everything is expected back at Esrange.
For further information of the project and onboard payload, visit: https://www.hemera-h2020.eu/