Last balloon soundings and one more upcoming local flight

The last night flight on Friday was followed by a day flight on Sunday and a subsequent, currently ongoing flight today (Monday). The targets of both flights were polar vortex air and trace gas filaments along a tropospheric trough and in the vicinity of the polar vortex edge.

Some teams had to start early in the morning today doing some urgent instrument repairs and making their instruments ready for the flight. Luckily all worked out well and HALO took off as planned at 13 LT.

HALO take-off for second day flight on Sunday. Photo: S. Gisinger

Prior to take-off, a balloon was launched in front of the hangar. After two big 3000g-balloons on the last days, the balloons launched today were again 500g-balloons. In addition, a balloon was also launched from El Calafate. Today’s balloon launches were the last ones for the SouthTRAC Campaign. The altitude record was reached by the 3000g balloon from RGA yesterday (Sunday) : 39.47 km. Launching balloons was great fun and lots of valuable data were collected.

The two airborne measurement plattforms at Rio Grande Airport during SouthTRAC: HALO and balloons. Photo: S. Gisinger
There it goes… Photo: S. Gisinger

The next and last local HALO flight is planned for Wednesday. It will bring HALO again southward to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and out eastward over the Atlantic. Focus is on trace gases and polar vortex air and maybe some mountain waves can be found at the souhtern tip of the Andes.