Systems Engineering Seminar

Balloon Flight and the ULDB Pumpkin Balloon Development

Presented by:
Rodger E. Farley / 543

May 6, 2008, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium


Balloon Flight and the ULDB Pumpkin Balloon Development

The NASA Ultra Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) program has had many technical development issues discovered and solved along its road to success as a new vehicle. It has the promise of being a sub-satellite, a means to launch up to 2700 kg to 33.5 km altitude for 100 days from a comfortable mid-latitude launch point. Current high-lift long duration ballooning is accomplished out of Antarctica with zero-pressure balloons, which cannot cope with the rigors of diurnal cycles. The ULDB design is still evolving, the product of intense analytical effort, scaled testing, improved manufacturing, and engineering intuition. The past technical problems, in particular the s-cleft deformation, their solutions, future challenges, and the methodology of pumpkin balloon design will generally be described.



Photo of Rodger Farley Rodger E. Farley has worked as an aerospace engineer for 28 years, mostly at the Mechanical Systems Branch at NASA/GSFC and currently serves as a mechanical systems engineer. His experience includes designing, analyzing, building and testing of solar array and antenna deployment systems, telescope articulation mechanisms, and instrument mechanisms for projects as COBE, TRMM, XTE, TopHat, NightGlow, IBEX, SAM. With an educational background of flight dynamics, structural dynamics, and aircraft design, he is currently the Ultra Long Duration Balloon systems engineer and chief ballooncraft designer.



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