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Science & Technology Experiments (U)

Overview (U):

(U) This subthrust includes support to a wide variety of aerospace flight experiments, some of which are covered under other sections of this Technology Area Plan, the Directed Energy TAP, or planning documents external to DoD. Experiment support may include some or all program components from planning and development through actual execution of the flight operation.

Description (U):

(U) The Balloon Assisted Launch System is a program to develop and demonstrate space access via a balloon-borne rocket carried to 80,000 feet prior to ignition. From this point a 250 pound payload can be placed into low earth orbit. An overall system weight of 10,000 pounds is anticipated with a balloon of 6 million cubic foot volume. The potential offered by the system is significant flexibility in launch location and a dramatic reduction in launch site infrastructure requirements. The balloon replaces the first stage of a traditional rocket system. The program is being conducted by Phillips Laboratory (SX) and Winzen Engineering under a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant. System development is currently underway with initial flight tests planned for FY97.

(U) The Superpressure Balloon System is a program to develop and to validate the performance of a balloon envelope capable of sustained high altitude flight for terrestrial and planetary research missions. The super-pressure system has the potential to dramatically increase the capability to conduct near space experiments, technology validations and operational missions at a fraction of the cost of space systems. Where traditional zero-pressure balloon systems must vent helium during the day and release ballast at night to avoid excessive altitude excursions, the superpressure system maintains a constant altitude by utilizing a pressurized balloon envelope. Future mission duration will be established by material endurance properties and the experimenterís requirements. Development of the superpressure system is being pursued as a cooperative venture between Winzen Engineering and Phillips Laboratory.

(U) A new generation balloon flight control package was developed under a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant managed by the Phillips Laboratory. This a bus based programmable set of instrumentation that allows the most flexibility for a variety of balloon experiments. This unit is lighter and more compact than previous versions and can be easily programmed for different experiments. It consumes less power and requires less thermal protection than earlier versions. This system was flight tested in May 97.

(U) A stand alone GPS was developed by Sandia Research Associates under a contract with Phillips Laboratory. This unit was designed to provide balloon positions and trajectories when the balloon was beyond line-of-sight of the telemetry station. Data are relayed at preset intervals from the balloon through INMARSAT to a ground COMSAT receiving station. The data are then placed on the internet and can be accessed via modem at the Balloon Control Center. Data are also stored onboard for data analysis. This system was flight tested in May 97.

User Impact (U):

(U) To be supplied.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Concept/Technology.

Images (U):

(U) None.

Related Initiatives (U): None.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
Adv Tech Integration & DemosAdvanced Technical Integration and Demonstrations
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

(U) None.

Lead Office (U):

(U) Air Force.

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Maj Mike LaPointe, NSSA, Open Phone: (703) 325-6422, DSN 221-6422.
(U) National Security Space Road Map Team, NSSA, Open Phone: (703)808-6040, DSN 898-6040.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 16 July 1997

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

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