The stratosphere is too low to operate orbiting satellites, and sounding rockets traverse it too quickly to obtain meaningful data. But balloons—or lighter-than-air vehicles to use the scientific term—can stay aloft in this middle region of the atmosphere that extends through an altitude range between 12 and 45 km.
That is why they are a unique tool for scientific research, and why CNES has always sustained a keen interest in balloon activities.
CNES has built up its balloon activities in the last 40 years and today its balloon programme ranks second only to the United States. The agency has earned worldwide recognition for its expertise in the design, construction, launch and operation of lighter-than-air vehicles.
|Origin||Activity initiated by the French scientific research centre CNRS and CNES for the astronomy and atmospheric research communities|
|Objectives||Science (astronomy, atmospheric and environmental research) and technology|
|1st flight||24 May 1972|
|Demand for balloon flights||Comes from science and industry|
Last updated: August 2009
- CNES balloons website (in French)
In the news
- New balloon campaign in Sweden - 4 August 2009
- Balloons monitor the African moonsoon - 11 August 2006
- Strateole-Vorcore campain studies the Antarctic ozone layer - 5 September 2005
- Casolba enhancing the quality of solar arrays - 8 August 2005
- Balloons in equatorial environment - 21 June 2005
- Envisat and CNES balloons keep track of ozone - 9 May 2005