In the first week of September 2016, three Canadian payloads flew on a stratospheric balloon that performed a 10-hour mission at an altitude of 34 km in Kiruna, Sweden. The primary payload, 2-D Imaging Fabry-Pérot Spectrometer, is jointly developed by York University and MPB Communications Inc., the Fabry-Pérot spectrometer can obtain very high spectral resolution measurements. It views sunlight that is absorbed and scattered by the atmosphere and reflected by the Earth’s surface. This provides information on aerosols, surface pressure and surface albedo. Dr. Jinjun Shan, Professor of Space Engineering in ESSE is the principal investigator (PI) of this project funded by the Canadian Space Agency, under its Flights for the Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST) program in 2014. Dr. Gordon Shepherd and Dr. Chris Sioris from ESSE are the Co-Is of this project. A group of science and engineering researchers have contributed to the development of this instrument.
The stratospheric balloon took off few minutes before 7am local time (1 am EDT) on Saturday September 3 at Esrange Space Center, near Kiruna, Sweden. It landed around 2:15pm in Northern Finland, and the instrument was successfully recovered before 8pm. Observation data analysis is still on going, but the flight mission has been very successful. During the 8-hour flight, key technologies of Fabry-Pérot spectrometer have been demonstrated and validated. Those technologies could readily be implemented on a future satellite mission.
by Dr. Jinjun Shan Images provided by Dr. Jinjun Shan