Purpose of the flight and payload description

The payload contained Low and High voltage electric field probes, magnetic search coils for a vector B-field measurement, x-ray detectors, one pointing up and one pointing down and two optical lightning detectors, one pointing up and one pointing down.

The main objective of the experiment was to measure electric and magnetic fields, along with x-rays and optical lightning associated with sprites. Sprites are large, brief flashes of light that occur very high in the atmosphere above large thunderstorms.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 12/6/2002 at 20:00 local
Launch site: Balloon Launch Sector, Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil  
Balloon launched by: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon  
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 12/7/2002 at ~ 11:00 local
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): ~ 15 h
Campaign: SPRITE 2002  

The balloon was launched at 20:00 local time, on december 6th 2002. At about 21:30 the balloon reached its float altitude of about 34km and was heading towards a large thundercloud. For about 1 hour it was flying directly over that thunderstorm. The flight was terminated near 11AM local time when was activated the onboard timer and the payload was cutdown. The balloon path is marked with the green line in the map above.

During this flight the balloon was directly over a thunderstorm thus making excellent measurements of electromagnetic fields.

External references

Images of the mission

SPRITES launch preparations Another view of the flight line A closer view of the weird instrument    

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