BRRISON gondola close-up (20130926055300)

BRRISON prior to launch

The Balloon Rapid Response for ISON (BRRISON) was a NASA project involving a stratospheric balloon with science instruments intended to study comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) and other celestial objects.

The balloon featured an azimuth and attitude stabilized gondola carrying an 80-centimeter (Template:Convert/LoffAonSon) telescope and two instruments on separate optical benches.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory contributed the BRRISON Infrared Camera (BIRC) for detecting water and carbon dioxide at 2.5 to 5 μm.Template:Sfn[1] The Southwest Research Institute provided the Ultraviolet-Visible light camera (UVVis) with a fine steering mirror to detect hydroxyl (308 nm) and cyanogen (385 nm) emissions.Template:Sfn[1] To save time, both the telescope and gondola avionics were refurbished from JHU/APL's Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory mission.Template:Sfn[2] The BRRISON payload was intended to operate at 120,000 feet (Template:Convert/pround m) for up to 22 hours.[3] The mission cost US$10.2 million, excluding the balloon and NASA personnel expenses,Template:Sfn and progressed from concept to launch pad in ten months.[3]

While Comet ISON was the primary target, this mission also planned to observe other objects, including comet 2P/Encke, Jupiter and its moons, the Mizar star system, Earth's Moon, and asteroids 10 Hygiea and 130 Elektra.[4] Another goal was to measure Earth's atmospheric transmission and emission using BIRC and atmospheric turbulence using UVVis.Template:Sfn

The balloon was launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on 28 September 2013 at 18:10 MDT (29 September 2013 at 00:10 UTC).[2][4] However, about two and a half hours after launch,[5] a communication interruption between hardware caused the telescope to return to its stowed position too rapidly, resulting in the stow bar being trapped.Template:Sfn Team members worked to fix the problem, but the telescope was unable to be redeployed.[5] The decision was made to keep the balloon afloat until it reached a safe location for mission termination, which occurred on 29 September at 06:04 MDT (12:04 UTC).[2] The gondola and its payload was released under parachute and recovered near Spur, Texas,[2] in "excellent condition".Template:Sfn The hardware may be reused on future balloon missions.Template:Sfn


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