EUSO-SPB Project

Extreme Universe Space Observatory- Super Pressure Balloon

EUSO-Balloon 2014 and aircraft underflight

Also see Scientific American (Nov. 2014 p32).

The EUSO balloon instrument first flew in 2014 on Aug 24/25 under the sponsorship of the French Space Agency CNES . This instrument was the payload of a high altitude ballon launched from the Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Facility in Timmins Canada. CNES and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) operate this facility together. The detector reached float altitude at 38km and collected data for the duration of the planned 4 hour test. The payload was separated from the balloon at the end of the night. After descending by parachute, the detector landed in a small lake where it floated until it was retrieved intact later that day.

A helicopter carrying two student passengers, a UV laser, UV LED, and UV Xe-Flasher, flew under the balloon at night to test the detector while it was at float altitude. This light sources generates tracks and flashes that mimic the optical signatures of high energy cosmic rays. The Mines team and in collaboration with colleagues from NASA/Marshal Flight Center and the University of Alabama at Huntsville designed and conducted this complex and succesful operation. Mines PhD student Johannes Eser and UAH MS student Matt Rodencal flew in the helicopter to operate the GLS equipment and help the pilots track the balloon. Tracks from the laser and point flashes from the LED and Xenon flasher were recorded by the balloon detector.

Notes on the 2014 Undeflight:
Mines Engineering Physics majors Ryan Larson, Wesley Naslund, and Guiseppe Pasqualino designed and prototyped the GLS aircraft laser system through their undergradute senior design project.

Equipment: We used a frequency tripled YAG laser (Quantel/CFR-Ultra). The 355 nm wavelength is close to the 357 nm nitrogen fluorescence line of cosmic ray air showers. The control computer was Technologic Systems TS-5500 with a custom GPS timing module.

EUSO-SPB | Colorado School of Mines