Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Atmosat balloon applications for tropospheric research


  • T. F. Heinsheimer,

  • P. C. Neushul


The first manned superpressure balloon has been developed to provide a new means for monitoring pollution transport and making physical and chemical measurements en route. The use of new high-strength fabrics allows the construction of a balloon that contains its lifting gas (helium) under pressure and thereby provides long-term flight stability, unachieved by any other method. Three flights, each in excess of 30-hour duration, have already been accomplished, demonstrating the ability of such vehicles to remain at a constant density level without perturbing air chemistry. Such a platform will allow the determination of air trajectories over many hundreds of miles. The use of trained observers onboard will facilitate the collection of atmospheric data: ozone, NO, SO2 temperature gradients, turbulence, etc. This important development will see widespread application in the coming year as experiments are flown for various agencies. Interested scientists are being encouraged to provide experiments for future flights.