Sunrise Telescope Test Flight 2007 - New Mexico - Multimedia Gallery

 

Multimedia Gallery 2007

 

Update

On June 8, 2009, at 8:05 a.m., the Sunrise telescope began its maiden research flight from Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden. For more, see this Staff Notes report >

 

About this 2007 gallery: In a landmark test flight, NCAR and a team of research partners successfully launched a solar telescope to an altitude of 120,000 feet, borne by a balloon larger than a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The 2007 test in New Mexico cleared the way for long-duration polar balloon flights beginning in 2009.

 

View inside open doors of an airport hangar
A. Sunrise telescope in hangar

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The Sunrise telescope, mounted aboard its gondola, waits at the hangar door for the launch vehicle to arrive in the early morning hours before launch. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*
Large white metal equipment inside airport hangar
B. Sunrise telescope in hangar

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A test version of the Sunrise telescope was used to avoid the possibility of damaging the one destined to fly over the Arctic and possibly Antarctic next year. The round lens cover of the telescope can be seen nestled in the center of its housing at the bottom center of the gondola. The lens cover was removed just before launch. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*

 

 

Solar panels attached to metal equipment on hill at sunrise
C. Sunrise gondola suspended from launch vehicle

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Secure within its gondola, the Sunrise telescope hangs suspended from its crane-like launch vehicle at dawn. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*
Solar panelled quipment attached to truck
D. Sunrise launch vehicle and telescope gondola

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A project team member stands on the Sunrise launch vehicle at dawn, his outline dwarfed by the size of the telescope's gondola. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*
Men unloading solar panels and other equipment
E. Solar panels fitted to the gondola

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Dummy solar panels (used in the test flight to avoid damaging the real ones) are fitted to the gondola in the early morning hours before launch. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*

 

Men attaching cushioning to bottom of balloon equipment
F. "crushers" attached to gondola

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Sunrise team members attach "crushers" to the gondola's frame. The crushers act as high-tech shock absorbers to protect the telescope on landing. (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR. News media terms of use*)
Equipment hanging off ruck crane with sunrise behind it
G. Sunrise at Sun rise

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The Sun rises behind the silhouetted Sunrise telescope just prior to launch on October 3. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*

 

 

Men attaching ballon to metal frame
H. Preparing the parachute

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Sunrise team members kneel on a protective gray ground pad to attach the circular hoop end of the telescope's parachute (orange and gray stripes stretching back toward the launch vehicle) to the balloon (whose base is partially visible, inside a removable protective red sheath). (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*
Tall white ballon being filled with air
I. Sunrise balloon

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Slender hoses, blown into arcs by the wind, partially fill the balloon with helium before launch. A large portion of the balloon is left unfilled so it can expand as it ascends into the stratosphere, where air pressure is considerably lower. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*
White balloon being lauched
J. Ascent

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During ascent, the unfilled portion of the balloon looks like a long tether between the base of the filled portion and the top of the orange-striped parachute. A large portion of the balloon is left unfilled so it can expand as it ascends into the thinner air of the stratosphere. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*

 

White ballon taking off
K. Balloon launch

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The balloon rises into position for liftoff. (Photo by David Elmore, ©UCAR.) News media terms of use*
Equipment that is being carried by ballon at take off
L. Sunrise gondola carrying telescope

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The gondola carrying the Sunrise telescope rises from the launch vehicle just moments after liftoff. (©UCAR, photo by David Elmore©UCAR.) News media terms of use*

 

Orange visualization on black background
M. Composite image of the Sun

This composite image of the Sun was taken during the Sunrise test flight. It is made from 2,000 images taken over a two-minute period.
Orange patchy foreground with black lines on it, black background
N. Composite image including tracking path

The composite image, made from 2,000 images taken during the Sunrise test flight, shows the path of instrument tracking.

 

Videos

O. Animation of Sunrise: A Balloon-borne Observatory for High Resolution Solar Observations in Visible and Ultraviolet Light

This animation depicts the balloon and gondola, with 1-meter solar telescope aboard, flying on a full-scale research flight. It includes proposed Arctic and Antarctic flight paths, illustrations of high-resolution solar images that the telescope may obtain, and the gondola's descent with a parachute. (Animation by Steven Deyo, ©UCAR.)
Large white balloon being filled with helium
P. Sunrise launch video

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This ground-based video shows the launch of the test flight on October 3, 2007, at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. (©UCAR, video by Carlye Calvin.)
Two parachutes attache to equipment in space
Q. Balloon cutdown and parachute deployment.

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An onboard video camera shows the gondola being cut from the balloon and the parachute deploying. The rim of Earth is visible at times at the right edge of the screen. (Video courtesy NASA and NCAR.)
View of Earth from high altitude telescope
R. View of Earth from the Sunrise balloon

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