Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

September 14, 2012 07:00 ET

Stratospheric Balloon Launch Site in Timmins: First Tests Are Successful

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2012) - This week, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the French space agency (Centre national d'études spatiales or CNES) travelled to the future stratospheric balloon launch site in Timmins, Ontario and successfully completed a series of tests for the first trial launch scheduled for 2013.

Taking place from September 10 to 13, 2012, the main objective of these operations was to perform a dry run of the end-of-flight stages of a stratospheric balloon. The experts validated the various procedures associated with the recovery of the balloon envelope and the flight chain, which includes the control system and mock-ups of scientific instruments. When a balloon mission ends, the balloon falls on the ground. Regardless of where it lands in a forest or in a field, it must be recovered.

"Now that we have successfully completed this dry run, I can't wait to witness the next flight campaigns," remarked CSA President Steve MacLean. "Since these missions will be low-cost, it will be possible to carry them out regularly, which will have a direct impact on the training of our next generation of space scientists and engineers. This collaboration between the CSA, the CNES and the City of Timmins will help Canada maintain its position as a world leader in the space exploration field and to continue developing its scientific and technological innovation capacities."

"With the simulated balloon recovery, the City of Timmins is one day closer to opening the door to a new, non-traditional industry. Who would have thought that a resource-based community would be working in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency on a stratospheric balloon project? This is good news worth celebrating. The economic impacts of this project are immediate and will benefit the City long term. Today, the sky is no longer the limit for the City of Timmins as we reach for new heights and seek out new opportunities," said Tom Laughren, Mayor of Timmins.

The CSA is currently in consultations with the Canadian space community to identify which scientific and technical experiments could be included on the CNES's annual stratospheric balloon flights. Other trials will be carried out in 2013. The first launch campaign is expected to be held in 2014.

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