Skip to main content

European Stratospheric Balloon Observatory Design Study

Objective

Following the findings of the H2020-funded ORISON project, we propose the design and development of a new European astronomical research infrastructure for stratospheric balloon-based telescopes. Our approach is to provide a versatile community-accessible observatory capable of covering unserved scientific needs, including those of star- and planet formation studies and exoplanet research. These are particularly associated with requirements for high spatial and spectral resolution far-infrared (FIR) observations, high sensitivity UV observations, and highly accurate visible light photometry. To a certain extent, these needs could also be addressed by space missions. A balloon infrastructure, however, will offer a more cost-efficient and flexible approach, allowing instruments more adaptable to evolving needs (exchangeable and less risk-adverse), longer overall observation times (possibility to refill cooling fluids), and larger mirror sizes (less severe launcher restrictions). So far, stratospheric telescopes, with the exception of SOFIA, have mostly served a single purpose and did not fly more than a few times. The proposed infrastructure, in contrast, will provide regular flights, allowing it to operate as a true observatory.
The infrastructure will be prepared in two parts within the project:
1) Conceptualization of the full distributed infrastructure with several flight platforms, including a suitable governance and operating structure for long-term operations and development. These will build upon a highly sensitive UV platform and lead to a next-generation FIR platform with unprecedented spatial resolution. A development roadmap will summarize the necessary development steps and funding needs.
2) Technical demonstration of the manageability and safe recovery of a versatile high-performance astronomical balloon mission via a prototype carrying a next-generation UV-detector and a visible light camera for photometric tests.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/molecular biology/molecular evolution
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/atmospheric sciences
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/observational astronomy/infrared astronomy
  • /engineering and technology/electrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering/electronic engineering/automation and control systems
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/planetary science

Call for proposal

H2020-INFRADEV-2017-1
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

RIA - Research and Innovation action

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF STUTTGART
Address
Keplerstrasse 7
70174 Stuttgart
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 159 980,84

Participants (4)

SVENSKA RYMDAKTIEBOLAGET
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 1 133 385,91
Address
Torggatan 15
171 04 Solna
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EBERHARD KARLS UNIVERSITAET TUEBINGEN
Germany
EU contribution
€ 315 803,75
Address
Geschwister-scholl-platz
72074 Tuebingen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Germany
EU contribution
€ 136 468,75
Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Muenchen
Activity type
Research Organisations
AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DEINVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
Spain
EU contribution
€ 263 924,36
Address
Calle Serrano 117
28006 Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations