2016-2017 USAP Field Season
NASA Long Duration Balloon (LDB) support program
Mr. Hugo Franco
Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility
Project Web Site:
Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
During the austral summer, the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) launches balloons as part of NASA's Long-Duration Balloon (LDB) program. The balloons measure up to 400 feet in diameter, expand to a volume of 40 million cubic feet, and ascend at a rate of about 900 feet per minute to float altitudes of up to 125,000 feet. Because of the Antarctic wind pattern that typically starts in early December, the balloons circumnavigate Antarctica between 70° and 80° south latitude for durations of 30-60 days on average. Payload are composed of scientific instruments, command and control systems, and solar- and/or battery-powered units. The bulk of the data collected is stored using onboard hard drives, with a small amount sent by radio telemetry to the United States.
Field Season Overview
Field team members will facilitate the preparation, launch, and recovery of NASA-sponsored high-altitude balloons and science payloads. The team will be housed at McMurdo Station and will commute daily to the Long Duration Balloon (LDB) launch facility. Balloon and payload preparations are timed to coincide with favorable weather and wind patterns. Upon termination of the flights, recovery teams will use fixed-wing and/or helicopter support to retrieve the payloads.
Deploying Team Members