High-altitude balloon, carrying UV telescope, to be launched on Sunday morning
A ballooning group comprising faculty and research students of the city-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) is all set to launch a high-altitude balloon in the wee hours of June 18.
The balloon that is being launched for scientific purposes will carry small payloads, which would be part of the future space missions.
The balloon will carry a Ultra Violet (UV) telescope and spectrograph which will weigh around 250 gm.
“We intend to test the prototypes of the payloads when the balloon is launched. This is the first attempt to test the equipment and check their parameters,” said Prof Jayanth Murthy who heads the ballooning group.
The balloon programme is essentially to develop and test payloads for space missions.
The team plans to launch the balloon from the IIA’s Centre for Research and Education in Science and Technology campus in Hoskote.
“If the weather permits, we will launch the balloon that weighs 4 kg around 2.30 am and collect it around 5.30 am,” Murthy said.
The team has chosen the wee hours as air traffic is relatively low during that time.The balloons will reach an altitude of around 30 km.
“Nobody has ever flown a 3D printer telescope and this is the first attempt. The telescope will take the UV spectrum of the moon,” Joice Mathew, a member of the team.
The launch of balloons with scientific payloads is an inexpensive way to carry out space experiments.
In the future, the team also plans to test a prototype of a telescope called the Lunar Ultraviolet Cosmic Imager (LUCI), in a similar manner. LUCI will be on-board city-based start-up Team Indus’s spacecraft to the moon.
IIA has developed the LUCI telescope. Team Indus is among the five teams competing for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition challenging privately-funded teams to land a spacecraft on the moon.