The BARREL ballloon campaigns: designing, executing and understanding a massive multipoint mission.

Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:20 AM
John Glen Sample, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States
The Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Loss  consisted of 40 small, nearly identical payloads launched over the course of two Antarctic summers. Each payload carried a NaI scintilator for observing bremmstrahlung x-rays produced when energetic electrons precipitate out of the radiation belts and are lost to the atmosphere. BARREL flew in association with the much larger Van Allen Probes mission and BARREL payloads made a simple niche measurement that has contributed substantially to that larger mission. BARREL payloads also made a massively multipoint measurement in order to observe phenomena that cannot be understood from a single or even limited number of points of view. Many low cost access platforms hope to ultimately achieve niche measurements that fill gaps in data or understanding, other programs hope to achieve swarms of small satellites. Will the niche measurement be definitive? What do we need to do to assimilate substantial numbers of data views. The data and experience of the BARREL balloons can help answer some of these questions.