Stratospheric Ballooning

Cost Effective Solutions for Stratospheric Launches / Operations

In comparison to satellites put in orbit by rockets, balloon carried instruments reach near space at a fraction of the cost and time. Stratospheric balloons can be launched, tracked, and terminated in a safe location with the payloads being recovered to again be launched within a short period.

Launch Operations

ISTAR has been contracted to train other agencies and companies in stratospheric balloon launch operations. The contracts usually start off with a consultation period to educate the client on the principals of launching balloon and then moves to the design and use of the launch equipment.  Once the team being trained understands the process, ISTAR orchestrates a balloon launch with the client using a dummy payload and a short duration flight.  ISTAR has worked with teams in Italy, Spain, and Norway on launch operations including the Spanish company Zero 2 Infinity. For the past 5 years ISTAR has been helping Zero 2 Infinity in training it's personnel on the "how to" in launching stratospheric balloons.

Recovery Operations

As the payload operations meet their goal, the flight crew prepares to terminate the flight over the least inhabited area possible; often times in remote locations. Once the commands are sent, the payload descends under a parachute and is tracked to the landing zone so that recovery can be completed. The recovery crew then arrives at the scene and removes 100% of the flight equipment from the area and returns the experiment to the client.

ISTAR has made the effort to maintain certifications in outdoor survival education so the field operations remain as safe as possible. The ISTAR team certifications include; Wilderness First Responder, National Outdoor Leadership School Instructor certification, River Rescue, ROV Pilot certified, Diving certifications, Professional Ski Instructors of America, Helicopter long and short line sling load certifications, and fixed wing pilot training. This training regiment keeps the ISTAR team current in the foremost rescue and safety aspects that in the end result in successful recovery operations.

Complete Project Management

ISTAR can provide 100% of the campaign management beginning with the initial planning stages, obtaining funding, logistics,  to the delivery of the recovered payload / instrumentation post flight. Each program is initiated with a Flight Application Form and a Flight Requirements Form that identifies the flight profile, altitude, duration, termination of the flight and recovery operations. Once the Flight Applications are received, they will be reviewed by the ISTAR Team allowing the campaign planning to begin.

Equipment Design

ISTAR engineers work with the customers to adapt the gondola and flight hardware to meet any special requirements of the launch. This can often be quite challenging in the field which is one of the "emergency tasks" ISTAR embraces.  Finding a resolve for success is one of the pleasures the ISTAR team fully enjoys.

Facilitates Academic Research

Young engineers and scientists will have the opportunity to participate in the launch operations, vehicle tracking, and recovery operations through student development programs. An entire classroom can develop an experiment that can be mounted as a “piggy-back” payload on larger experiments.

ISTAR has worked with student within their classrooms in support of developing a balloon launch program making use of small meteorological balloons ( latex balloons) and graduating to larger sounding balloons with the plans to eventually have the students launch balloons in the 10,000 Cu. M. range.

Scientific Research Support

ISTARS support Includes, but not limited to, the development of research stations, payload fabrication, power supply systems, telemetry systems, setting up ground-based experiments and of course Long Duration Balloon development in the remote regions. If your specific required service is not listed, please contact The ISTAR Group for additional support opportunities.