Passepartout Sherpa – A low-cost, reusable transportation system into the stratosphere for small experiments

Author(s): M. Taraba, H. Fauland, T. Turetschek, W. Stumptner, V. Kudielka, D. Scheer, B. Sattler, A. Fritz, B. Stingl, H. Fuchs, B. Gubo, S. Hettrich, A. Hirtl, E. Unger, A. Soucek, N. Frischauf, G. Grömer

Journal: Advances in Space Research

Volume: 54

Page(s): 2259–2273

Year: 2014

DOI Number: 10.1016/j.asr.2014.07.030

Link: Link to publication


The Passepartout sounding balloon transportation system for low-mass (<<1200 g) experiments or hardware for validation to an altitude of 35 km is described. We present the general flight configuration, set-up of the flight control system, environmental and position sensors, power system, buoyancy considerations as well as the ground control infrastructure including recovery operations. In the telemetry and command module the integrated airborne computer is able to control the experiment, transmit telemetry and environmental data and allows for a duplex communication to a control centre for tele-commanding. The experiment module is mounted below the telemetry and command module and can either work as a standalone system or be controlled by the airborne computer. This spacing between experiment- and control unit allows for a high flexibility in the experiment design. After a parachute landing, the on-board satellite based recovery subsystems allow for a rapid tracking and recovery of the telemetry and command module and the experiment. We discuss flight data and lessons learned from two representative flights with research payloads.