2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
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2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

NASA Long Duration Balloon (LDB) support program

no photo available


Event Number:
NSF / NASA Agreement

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Scott Battaion / Chad Naughton

Principal Investigator

Mr. Hugo Franco

Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility
Palestine, Texas

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Williams Field


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

  • Alexander Beange
  • Garrison Breeding
  • Mark Cobble
  • Mark Cobble
  • Dewell Cooper
  • Larry Fox
  • Hugo Franco (PI)
  • Curtis Frazier
  • Gabriel Garde
  • Gerald Gregg
  • Scott Hadley
  • Jack Hays
  • Randall Henderson
  • Joseph Jones
  • Michael Jones
  • Joshua King
  • Otto Masters
  • Randall McDonald
  • Scott Miller
  • Matthew Mullin
  • Jacob Richard
  • Delbert Spangler
  • David Sullivan (Co-PI)
  • Cesar Villasana
  • Corey Weber
  • Robin Whiteside
  • Daniel Willette
  • Danny Williams