A document describes a 5.5-m-diameter, helium-filled balloon designed for carrying a scientific payload having a mass of 44 kg for at least six days at an altitude of about 55 km in the atmosphere of Venus. The requirement for floating at nearly constant altitude dictates the choice of a mass-efficient spherical super-pressure balloon that tracks a constant atmospheric density. Therefore, the balloon is of a conventional spherical super-pressure type, except that it is made of materials chosen to minimize solar radiant heating and withstand the corrosive sulfuric acid aerosol of the Venusian atmosphere.

The shell consists of 16 gores of a multilayer composite material. The outer layer, made of polytetrafluoroethylene, protects against sulfuric acid aerosol. Next is an aluminum layer that reflects sunlight to minimize heating, followed by an aluminized polyethylene terephthalate layer that resists permeation by helium, followed by an aromatic polyester fabric that imparts strength to withstand deployment forces and steady super-pressure. A polyurethane coat on the inner surface of the fabric facilitates sealing at gore-to-gore seams. End fittings and seals, and a tether connecting the end fittings to a gondola, are all made of sulfuricacid- resistant materials.

This work was done by Jeffrey Hall, Viktor Kerzhanovich, and Andre Yavrouian of Caltech; Debora Fairbrother and Magdi Said of NASA-Wallops Flight Facility; and Chuck Sandy and Thad Fredrickson of ILC Dover, Inc. for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category. NPO-43852


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Balloon for Long-Duration, High-Altitude Flight at Venus

(reference NPO-43852) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

Don't have an account? Sign up here.