A close-up of the FIRMOS-B instrument.

Getting ready for the ATMOSFER flight

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The campaign team has arrived at the ESRANGE Space Center on Saturday 15 June, to set up all that is needed for the preflight activities. FIRMOS-B was unpacked and set on the team workspace, in the “Cathedral” building (there are other two buildings here, they are called “Basilica” and “Chapel”).

Later, some of the most delicate parts that were stored separately during the journey were reassembled.

The campaign team and FIRMOS-B in the ESRANGE Space Center.
The campaign team and FIRMOS-B in the ESRANGE Space Center.

The team set about the series of tests that ensure that FIRMOS-B is in good conditions after its journey from Italy to Sweden. This includes checking the instrument alignment, the thermal stability and the detectors performance.

Due to its larger volume and weight, FIRMOS-B was the first of 12 experiments, to be integrated on the CARMENCITA gondola on Wednesday 19 June. All the screws were carefully tightened, then power and communications were tested. More tests will ensure that everything is correct and in place for FIRMOS-B and the other experiments on the ATMOSFER balloon.

FIRMOS-B integrated on the CARMENCITA gondola.

Meanwhile the team is also attending the daily meteorological meetings to be informed on the upcoming weather. Many conditions must be satisfied at the same time to be able to get a green light and at the moment, a date for the launch has not yet been defined.

For more information

Additional info on the TRANSAT campaign can be found in this and CNES post and in this Swedish Space Corporation article; StratoCat has a very detailed page on balloon launches from ESRANGE. Also, follow Stéphane Louvel Twitter account for updates and great photos.