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Arctic ozone depletion and green house gases in focus

On Wednesday 31 March, at 00:45 local time, a stratospheric balloon was successfully launched by CNES in cooperation with SSC from Esrange Space Center, SSC’s operational base for space activities.

Preparations inside
before the launch
Photo © KIT

on the launch pad
Photo © KIT

The multi-instrument MIPAS payload, carrying the three instruments MIPAS-B, TELIS, and mini-DOAS with a total weight of 740 kg, went aloft with a 400.000 m3 helium filled balloon to an altitude of 35.4 km.

The scientific team comprises scientists from five institutes in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Russia.

The flight took 6 hours and 15 minutes before the payload landed in North East Russia, near the Finnish border. The recovery is currently underway in cooperation with our Russian and French colleagues..

“We need to have the right conditions in the stratosphere to do good science with our measurements. ”, says the gondola PI Hermann Oelhaf from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany. “Already in early February we had been ready for a launch but the extremely strong winds of up to 400 km/h in the stratosphere prevented a balloon flight and forced us to go home into stand-by. Now, the vortex is situated right above Kiruna and we could do a perfect flight only two days after returning to Kiruna which makes us very happy. Most interestingly, however, we are facing a record ozone loss and a long-lasting vortex this year.”

This was the fifth flight of twelve planned, within the French CNES balloon campaign.

The scientific purpose
The scientific aim of the balloon flight is to investigate the atmospheric chemistry and dynamics connected to the ozone depletion and other phenomena that lead to climate change on Earth. These measurements are made for many years in order to follow the evolution of chemistry and dynamics while the climate is changing. Climate change and ozone are closely interlinked and a better understanding of the underlying processes is needed to more reliably predict the future climate.
The balloon flight has been the first out of 4 planned within a scientific project called ENRICHED, managed by Nathalie Huret. from LP2CE/CNRS, Orleans, France and Hermann Oelhaf from KIT, Germany.
Next campaign at Esrange

The launching programme at Esrange during 2011 is packed with both balloon and rocket launches. The next campaign coming up is JAXA D-SEND-1, a Japanese balloon campaign with the purpose of conducting flight demonstration of low sonic boom design technology.

Read more
The CNES balloon campaign
The ENRICHED project website 
The MIPAS web site 
Current activities at Esrange Space Center and SSC

For further information please contact
Mr. Anders Nystrom, Project Manager at Esrange Space Center
Swedish Space Corporation
Phone: +46 980 720 18 +46 703811050
E-mail: [email protected]  
Mr. Hermann Oelhaf, MIPAS/TELIS gondola PI and ENRICHED co-coordinator
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Forschungs Zentrum Karlsruhe
Phone: +49 721 608 25948
E-mail: [email protected]  

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