The LXeGRIT Balloon Flight Campaign in May 1999

The LXeGRIT team proudly reports a successful 9 1/2 hour balloon flight (7h afloat) on Friday, May/7/99, from Ft. Sumner, NM, which included several hours of observing time on the Crab nebula within the large field-of-view. After a picture-perfect launch by a 29 Mcft balloon at 7:26h local time, LXeGRIT reached float altitude by about 10 a.m. The entire detector system including the liquid xenon time projection chamber, the electronics and data acquisition system, and the cryogenics system on the ballooncraft performed great. Telemetry at 1Mbps and onboard data storage ensured full data taking efficiency. The payload was recovered in good shape without damage to detector and electronics near Fairview, Oklahoma. Mechanical damages were restricted to parts of the NaI side shields and minor structural elements. We are looking forward to our next steps in analysing the wealth of data received while preparing the payload for a future flight, with extended observing time under turn-around conditions, which have yet to appear this Spring in Ft. Sumner!


Many thanks to the NSBF launching team!

The campaign started of course long before the arrival in Ft. Sumner: Development of a revised data acquisition and trigger system, upgrades on data receiving, installation of onboard storage, a compacter design of the balloon gondola, and many other improvements since the first two engineering flights in 1997 kept us quite busy. The system was tested and calibrated during runs at Nevis Laboratories and finally at the NSBF site in Ft. Sumner.
Here are some images from the flight (NSBF # 464N) and preparation:

(Click on images to view in large)

LXeGRIT being assembled at Nevis Labs (Feb. '99) 
The LXeGRIT team saying goodbye to the gondola as it leaves Nevis for Ft. Sumner: 
Uwe Oberlack, Ian Tolfree, Alessandro Curioni, Elena Aprile, Valery Egorov, Kyoko Takizawa, Karl Giboni. 
After 2 1/2 weeks in Ft. Sumner, the weather conditions seem favorable for a launch. The payload is picked up by the NSBF launch vehicle around 2 a.m. in the night.
Ballooncraft with crash padding.  Elena Aprile and her "baby".
(top, not bottom)

The control room is ready.
(Waiting: Uwe & Sandro [Ventura])
Kyoko, Karl, & Tadayoshi Doke  Alessandro with future PhD thesis? 
The Launch 
First detector check during the flight: Everything is working okay!  Recovery team bringing LXeGRIT back from Oklahoma 

responsible for this page: uwe oberlack