Bridging the Gap To Space

Lightweight Science Payloads on High Altitude

Long Duration Balloons and Airships

                   26 - 28 October 2009

The National Center for Atmospheric Research

              Mesa Lab,  Boulder Colorado


Sponsored by: The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

                         and the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder

There is tremendous scientific potential in developing a robust, high-altitude, lighter-than-air (LTA) science platform that could stay aloft for many weeks to several months.

A stable, solar-powered platform positioned at low- to mid-stratospheric altitudes (65,000 to 90,000 ft) could provide a space-like observation outpost far more accessible and less expensive than low Earth orbit. Despite an increasing number of scientific satellite missions, there are strong drivers for the use of relatively long duration LTA vehicles - already in advanced stages of development by NASA and the US military - for a wide range of astronomy, atmospheric and Earth science applications.

- Existing and Proposed Balloons & Airships

- Flight Altitudes, Latitude Ranges, & Durations

- Communications, Control, & Propulsion

- Day/Night Power Sources & Storage

- Future SubOrbital NASA, NSF, DoD platforms

Workshop Topics

- High-Resolution Astronomical Imaging

- Exoplanet Searches

- Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics

- Solar Monitoring/Space Weather

- Planetary and Earth Science

- Earth Reconnaissance

For more information contact:

Eliot Young                                               Rob Fesen                                                     Qian Wu

Dept of Space Studies                              Dept of Phys. & Astro                                    HAO/NCAR

Southwest Research Institute                   Dartmouth College                                        Boulder, CO

303 546 6807                                            603 646 2949                                                303 497 2176                                       


Speakers include:

S. Alan Stern, former Associate Administrator of NASA and PI on the “New Horizons” mission to Pluto

Wes Traub, JPL, Chief Scientist, NASA Navigator Program

Mike Knolker, Director of HAO at NCAR and PI on the “SUNRISE” a balloon-borne solar telescope

David Pierce, Chief, NASA’s Balloon Program Office, Wallops Island

Mark Devlin, PI on Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST)

Mike Smith, AeroStar, High-Altitude Balloons

Steve Smith, SwRI,  HiSentinel Airship

William Randel, NCAR, Director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division