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Space Science

BLAST High Altitude Telescope Launched 26

Xandu writes "BLAST, the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope, was launched on the 11th at 11:09 UTC from Esrange in northern Sweden, and is currently floating over Greenland. BLAST is a 2700kg telescope with a 2 meter primary mirror that hangs from a 1.1 million m^3 balloon floating at an altitude of 38km that will study the star formation history of the universe. It will float west at nearly constant latitude for about 5 days before the flight is terminated over northwest Canada or northern Alaska. Real time position and flight track is available from the NSBF. Two of the graduate students working on the project have photo blogs of the entire (8 week) prep period, including several launch photos. The press has more traditional coverage as well. And if that isn't geeky enough to make it on Slashdot, the flight computers run Slack."
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BLAST High Altitude Telescope Launched

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  • by helioquake ( 841463 ) * on Monday June 13, 2005 @12:02PM (#12803274) Journal
    This is a fine example that sometimes a balloon mission is the most ideal for launching scientific mission.

    (1) it costs less to launch the observing platform;
    (2) the structural tolerance to vibration isn't important;
    (3) the instrument can be recovered and reused (after some repairing...even a soft landing can break something)... ...etc, etc. It's hard to overrun the cost for $1billion dollars for a mission like this (yeah, take that, JWST!).

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling