HQ initiated a study in August, 2012 to evaluate the workshop concept ideas and systematically affirm science traceability to the Planetary Science’s Decadal Survey.  Based on the achievable science, the study will develop high level requirements for the science payload, support systems, and mission operations (e.g. aperture, pointing stability, durations, etc.) and provide a recommendation for a baseline system to study in more detail to understand potential costs and risks. The recommended baseline concept will be evaluated by a team of balloon and engineering experts at NASA Glenn’s COMPASS facility.  The collaborative engineering team will develop a point design and concept of operations to provide the required cost and risk assessments.  The status and results of the study will be presented to the planetary community through various venues including DPS, AGU and the 2012 LPSC.

Upcoming/Recent Events

COMPASS Concept Design Session, Starting October 22nd.
  Study Objectives


1)  Confirm the science potential of a balloon based telescope – deeper exploration of earlier concept ideas, traceability to Decadal Survey

- Understand and document “Why a balloon platform?”

2)  Develop requirements for balloon based telescope to meets NASA’s planetary science goals and objectives (aperture, durations, altitudes, locations)

3)  Develop requirements for general instrument systems (optical characteristics, pointing, etc.)

- Assess gondola systems/subsystems to meet the requirements.

- Assess near-term and mid-term instruments and subsystems.

4)  Develop schedule and cost estimates to field near-term and mid-term technologies.

5)  Identify the feasibility of a near-term mission with sufficient science justification:

•Science traceability
•Risk assessment and mitigation plan
•Detailed analysis and point design of a baseline instrument
•Detailed point design of gondola
•System level integration assessment
•Concept of operations
•Cost assessment and development schedule
  Study Plan and Products
Study Plan and Procedure