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© Sébastien CHASTANET / CNES / OMP / IRAP / UT3 / CNRS Images



Départ du banc de gonflage vers l’aire de lâcher, sur le site d'Alice Springs

Moving from the inflation station to the launch area, as part of the preparations for the PILOT, CLIMAT and CARMEN/CASOLBA missions at the Alice Springs balloon launch base in Australia. The small balloons are released shortly before the main launch, to provide a visual indication of the wind direction in addition to the data from the tethered balloon. The tethered balloon indicates the wind direction at altitudes of up to 200 m. To maximise the flight altitude and duration, balloon launches for the various missions must be planned to coincide with stratospheric wind inversions. The researchers therefore watched for the ideal meteorological conditions. The mission gondolas, lifted by helium-filled balloons, were launched to an altitude of several tens of kilometres in April 2017. Measurements are more economical and simpler to perform using balloons than using satellites. Balloons are able to gather data that would be impossible to collect using ground-based telescopes, as the Earth's atmosphere partially blocks cosmic radiation.

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