Download by parachute: retrieval of assets from high altitude balloons

E.L. Sirks, P. Clark, R.J. Massey, S.J. Benton, A.M. Brown, C.J. Damaren, T. Eifler, A.A. Fraisse, C. Frenk, M. Funk, M.N. Galloway, A. Gill (+18 others)
2020 Journal of Instrumentation  
A : We present a publicly-available toolkit of flight-proven hardware and software to retrieve 5 TB of data or small physical samples from a stratospheric balloon platform. Before launch, a capsule is attached to the balloon, and rises with it. Upon remote command, the capsule is released and descends via parachute, continuously transmitting its location. Software to predict the trajectory can be used to select a safe but accessible landing site. We dropped two such capsules from the S BIT
more » ... from the S BIT telescope, in September 2019. The capsules took ∼37 minutes to descend from ∼30 km altitude. They drifted 32 km and 19 km horizontally, but landed within 300 m and 600 m of their predicted landing sites. We found them easily, and successfully recovered the data. We welcome interest from other balloon teams for whom the technology would be useful. K : Balloon instrumentation; Data Handling; Large detector-systems performance; Models and simulations 2020 JINST 15 P05014
doi:10.1088/1748-0221/15/05/p05014 fatcat:lkuojfgqhfd7bbgncw75fvtauu