Status Update: HiWind Landed Friday, June 17!

HiWind - Flight 620N - LDB Relayed Real Time GPS Data:  ** **

HiWind Trajectory
HiWind trajectory of westward flight path.
Data Map of HiWind trajectory
Detailed map of HiWind westward flight path. (linked to Google map)
HiWind recovery site
HiWind recovery site.

HiWind launch preparation.
HiWind payload during final assembly

Above left: HiWind payload during final assembly in Integration Hall at Kiruna, Sweden, June, 2011. Pink insulation is covered by reflective space blankets during flight to provide the instrument protection from the extreme thermal environment that exists at the 140,000 foot flight altitude. Four light port tubes near the top of the instrument allow light measurements to be taken in four directions simultaneously to allow wind velocity and direction to be determined. The measurements are oriented upward from the horizon to look at wind velocities well above HiWind's flight altitude.

Above right: HiWind Sweden instrument design.

HiWind instrument during final flight preparations
HiWind instrument during final flight preparations in Kiruna, Sweden, June, 2011. Solar panels shown are continuously positioned to face the sun during flight to provide power for the instrument and shade critical areas of the payload from intense solar radiation. A large radiator at the rear of the payload allows precise thermal control of sensitive components inside the instrument. Pointing information is provided via differential GPS and a sun detector developed by NASA to drive a motorized rotator between the payload and the balloon. The balloon, rotator, and recovery parachute attach to the triangular fitting shown at the top of the payload.
Scientific Objective:
  • To measure summer time polar cap thermospheric neutral winds
  • To study the ionosphere and thermosphere interaction in the polar cap during the summer
  • To understand the Joule heating in the high latitude region which has a great impact on thermosphere global circulation
  • To provide a better understanding of the energy transfer process from the solar wind to magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere
  • The observational results will have a great impact on space weather research and help to predict the ionosphere variation related to the thermosphere motion.

  Instrument Design:

  • HiWind is a balloon borne Fabry-Perot interferometer
  • It will measure the thermospheric winds by monitoring the neutral wind induced Doppler shift in the airglow emission O 630 nm
  • The O 630 nm emission is mostly from the thermosphere.

Scientific Payload Information:

  • Weight 1600lb (not including CSBF components)
  • Height 164 inch
  • Sun pointing during the day and north pointing during the night
  • HiWind payload status graphed data (not active until balloon is launched).

  Ground Based Collaboration:

  • HiWind is in flight over many ground based incoherent scatter radar sites
  • Collaboration with ground based observation will be a key component for scientific research
  • Ground based radars can provide ionosphere parameters, which can be combined with HiWind neutral wind data for ionosphere and thermosphere interaction study
  • Arrangement with ground based PI has been made.
Current Status:
  • HiWind payload completed an integration test at Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, in September 2010
  • HiWind passed Mission Readiness Review in April 2011
  • HiWind is launched and flying, June 14, 2011 from Kiruna, Sweden.
  • HiWind Comes Down Friday, June 17, 2011!
  • HiWind is the first balloon-borne FPI to measure the daytime thermospheric winds
  • Thermospheric winds are critically needed for space weather research
  • HiWind payload has modest pointing requirements and with a modest weight.
Left: Design, engineering and fabrication team. Right: Deployment and launch team
Left: Design, engineering and fabrication team. Right: Deployment and launch team.
  Thermosphere Airglow Emission Rates
Thermosphere Airglow Emission Rates.
HiWind Sweden Balloon Flight Plan
Typical Sweden Balloon Flight track (courtesy CSBF/NASA).
HiWind Schematic
HiWind Schematic: Left=Rear-Starboard and Right=Front-Port.
The project is supported by NASA grant NNX08AV35G from Geospace Science Program (part of Heliophysics Research program). For more information please contact principal investigator Qian Wu ( ).