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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Scientific Ballooning

Balloon Program Office

HASP Program Overview

HASP Payload Sections Labeled

The High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) was developed over the last several years to provide student built payloads with access to the very edge of space for relatively long durations. To date HASP has had two successful flights (in 2006 and 2007), carrying 18 student payloads from 12 higher education institutions to an average altitude of about 120,000 feet for more than 15 hours each flight. In addition, we are currently planning for the third and last flight of this phase currently scheduled for September 2008.

The HASP ballooncraft was developed by Louisiana State University (LSU) and is supported by the NASA Balloon Program Office (BPO) for the primary purpose of providing a regularly scheduled flight opportunity for advanced student payloads. The HASP system, shown in flight configuration in the above image, supports up to twelve student payloads per flight and carries these payloads to an altitude in excess of 120,000 feet for a duration of up to 20 hours. All payloads are supplied with a standard power, downlink telemetry and uplink command interface, but the resources available are constrained according to the payload "class". Eight "small" payload seats are located on fiberglass extension booms, as shown in the above image, while four "large" payloads can be accommodated on the top of HASP. Small payloads are limited to 3 kilograms mass, dimensions of 15 cm x 15 cm area and 30 cm of height, power of 0.5 Amps at 30 VDC, 1200 bits per second of serial downlink telemetry and uplink commands, plus two analog downlink channels. Resource limits for large payloads are increased to 20 kilograms mass, dimensions of 38 cm by 30 cm area and 30 cm height, power of 2.5 Amps at 30 VDC and 4800 bits per second for serial uplink and downlink. In addition, large payloads can request up to four discrete hard-line commands to control actuators, valves, motors or other events.

All payloads are actively monitored and, if necessary, controlled throughout the flight. Payload data is downlinked to the ground station and then transferred to the HASP website every 15 to 20 minutes where it is available to students monitoring their experiment at their home institution. Real time visual monitoring of payloads during flight is provided by CosmoCam a streaming video camera with full pan, tilt and zoom capability developed and operated by Rocket Science, Inc. CosmoCam can be used to verify lid open / close, deployment of extension booms or other events. If necessary, commands can be uplinked to control various aspects of the payload. Prior to flight the student team provides HASP flight control with the list of commands they may need to uplink. During the flight the student team can then request flight control to uplink one or more of the commands on the list, which is done at the next available opportunity. Following flight, HASP is recovered and the student payloads are shipped to the home institution for analysis, refurbishment or other processing.

Under the support of the BPO, HASP flies in September once a year from the balloon base at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. This period of time and location enables the longest flights possible for the student payloads for a continental US launch. A student team wishing to apply for a seat must submit an application by December of the previous year. These applications are reviewed by LSU and BPO and the flight selection for the year is made by January. Selection includes only the flight opportunity, for which the group is not charged, but funding for the payload development and team support must be obtained elsewhere. Integration of the student payloads with HASP occurs during the June / July time frame at the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility located in Palestine, Texas. Following integration, HASP is shipped to the Fort Sumner flight line where it is prepared for launch in September.

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