Title of Presentation: Development of Advanced Ballooncraft Support Systems

Primary (Corresponding) Author: Robert Estep and Linda D. Thompson

Organization of Primary Author: NASA Wallops Flight Facility

Co-Authors: David W. Stuchlik


Abstract: The NASA Balloon Program is pursuing the development of an Ultra-Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) vehicle and its associated support systems. These new technologies will provide an extraordinary new capability for balloon borne science investigations – essentially becoming low cost satellites hanging from a string.  The Ballooncraft Support Systems were developed by NASA Wallops Flight Facility for use on ULDB class balloon missions.  These highly reliable support systems are  capable of providing command and control of balloon-borne payloads, including 0.5 – 1 KW power and 0.1 – 1 MB/sec data flow through TDRSS. The support systems have now flown two missions supporting the Cosmic Rays Energetics and Mass (CREAM) experiment.  The first, CREAM I, flown in December 2004, was for a record breaking 41 days, 21 hours, and the second, flown in December 2005, was for 28 days, 9 hours. These support systems provide CREAM with power, telecommunications, command and data handling including flight computers, mechanical structures, thermal management and attitude control to help ensure a successful scientific mission.  This paper will address the performance and success of these support systems over the two missions.