December 15, 2016

Second flight

EUSO-SPB (EUSO Super Pressure Balloon) is the same experiment with a number of enhancements, to be flown under a superpressure balloon for several weeks. Launch is scheduled in March, April or May 2017 from the Wanaka facility in New Zealand.

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The instrument has been upgraded from the first version of EUSO-Balloon, with a 2,304-pixel photo-detector module (PDM) offering far superior performance and an optical system with three Fresnel lenses each 1 metre on a side to cover a field of view of ±6 degrees. One of these lenses is designed to provide chromatic concentration across the viewing spectrum. An improved version of the trigger will enable high-energy cosmic ray events to be captured.

The main science objective of this second flight is to measure the impact in the atmosphere of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays looking down at the ground from near-space with a fluorescence detector. EUSO-SPB will also look for UV pulses signalling other objects like meteorites and transient luminous events (TLEs). It will measure slow-moving UV phenomena like airglows and marine bioluminescence.

The Colorado School of Mines (CSM) in Boulder made structural modifications to the telescope, and laid it out and integrated it. Laser tests were conducted at the Telescope Array site and final tests at the CSBF in Palestine, Texas.

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The instrument was shipped to New Zealand in November 2016 for a flight in spring 2017.