Status Report

Update on BETTII Mission Flight Termination, Recovery

By SpaceRef Editor
June 23, 2017
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A team from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility completed recovery actions for the Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry (BETTII) payload June 15; a multidisciplinary team has formed and is working to determine the cause of the incident.

The recovery site was in a remote, unpopulated, wooded area northeast of Sterling City, Texas, on private property.

The site was not accessible via ground transportation. After coordination with the property owner, a CSBF team hiked to the site to conduct initial and follow-on site surveys. The team then contracted helicopter services to recover and transport the payload back to CSBF, located in Palestine, Texas.

This was the first flight, an engineering test flight, of BETTII. During the flight, the team tested out their subsystems and received science data from the BETTII instrument; analysis of that data is underway. Additionally, the flight enabled the BETTII team to successfully check-out the instrument. Additional science data was recorded on solid-state drives during flight. The incident investigation and BETTII teams are working to determine if additional data can be recovered from the drives.

Two more balloon flights from Palestine, Texas, are planned pending an engineering review of the payload/gondola connections to the parachute system. Each payload/gondola is unique; the upcoming flights use payload/gondola connections different than that used for the BETTII flight.

SpaceRef staff editor.