HEMERA balloon flight

Field Campaigns

The FIRMOS team is spending most of August in Timmins, Ontario, Canada, to carry out a measurement campaign aboard a high-altitude balloon system.

The FIRMOS-B instrument will measure the Earth’s infrared emission from an altitude of about 30km. This will provide valuable data and experience for the preparation and Cal/Val activities of the FORUM mission.

FIRMOS-B is able to contribute unique far-infrared stratospheric nadir-looking data for testing of cloud parameters databases (e.g. single scattering databases) and spectroscopic databases, as well as for testing FORUM retrievals.

More info:

FIRMOS-B preparation

10 August – Unpacking and first instrument verification
  • Workplace setup, unpack container / boxes
  • Set up local network
  • The instrument arrived without any damage
  • It was installed and switched on for operation
  • Tested the latest release of Pyroelectric detectors electronics
  • Characterization of the detector response in the final configuration

11 August – Instrument preparation
  • Beam Splitters mounting and optical alignment
  • Characterisation of the calibration function and NESR

12 – 13 August – Optimisation
  • Final interferometric alignment
  • Characterisation of the calibration function and the NESR in the final configuration

14 August – Gondola integration
  • The instrument is mounted on the gondola
  • Cable dressing
  • Integration and testing of electrical and communication interfaces

15 August – Line of sight optimisation
  • Line of sight verification
  • Flight program testing
  • Mounting of the mechanical protection shield

16 August – Flight program optimisation
  • Pointing angles are defined
  • Flight program is decided and tested
  • New characterisation of the instrument performance

17 August – Co-alignment with GLORIA-B++
  • Set-up of the VIS camera
  • FOV co-alignment between the camera and FIRMOS-B using a horizontal beam and a 45° mirror below the nadir views of both instruments (alternatively moving the gondola).
  • Test of attitude sensors on FIRMOS-PI (Raspberry-PI with Sense HAT)

18 August – Other tests on the integrated system
  • Co-alignment of on-board VIS camera and the FIRMOS-B FOV
  • Test of the gondola PASTIS telecommunication system

19 August – Gondola balancing and end-to-end test
  • Set up of the date synchronisation
  • Test of power consumption
  • Balancing of the gondola
  • Full CNES end to end test with all instruments
20 August – Final preparation and tests on-board
  • Mounting of the superinsulation shield
  • Preparing the recovery procedure

21-22 August – Waiting for the flight opportunity
23 August – Launch day
  • The countdown started at 9:00 LT (13:00 UTC)
  • The CARMEN gondola was rolled out at 11:10 LT (15:10 UTC)
  • Launch pad was reached at 11:20 LT
  • The main balloon was inflated at 12:39 LT
  • Final payload preparation
  • Launch at 14:02 LT (18:02 UTC)
HEMERA 3 CNES flight at the CSA-ASC Stratospheric Balloon Base, Timmins (CAN)
24 August – Landing
  • End of flight 24/8/2022 at 9:15 UTC
  • Balloon flight duration: 15 h 10 m
  • Landing site: Near Val Paradis, Quebec, Canada
25 August – Recovery
  • FIRMOS-B was recovered apparently without damages. A tree entered inside the gondola but no instrument was damaged.
  • Unfortunately, data seems degraded by unexpected vibration which disturb the acquisition of the path difference
  • An in-depth analysis is necessary to evaluate the quality of the measurements.