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



Paramétrage du transpondeur radar de la chaîne de vol

Configuring the radar transponder part of the flight string, in preparation for the PILOT, CLIMAT and CARMEN/CASOLBA missions at the Alice Springs facility in Australia. This operation is performed before each flight, as part of the operational service gondola configuration procedure. The role of the radar transponder is to enable communication with other aircraft. Situated in the core of the flight assembly, the operational service gondola receives and transmits data between the airborne and ground-based segments, and controls the aerostat (stratospheric balloon) in flight. It contains the flight avionics components, including the onboard computers, transponder and ballast container. In particular, these gondolas enable the actuation of gas- or ballast-releasing devices, to control the balloon's ascent and descent. Data received by the control centre on the ground indicates the balloon's position as well as the status of its onboard systems. Measurements are more economical and simpler to perform using stratospheric 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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