Superpressure boundary layer balloons stay aloft for 3 to 4 weeks. The volume of the envelope, which is rigid and sealed, does not change with variations in temperature and pressure. However, because it only spans about 2 m, it can only carry payloads weighing a few kg. Researchers studying the atmosphere favour this kind of balloon.
These lighter-than-air craft can carry payloads weighing up to 50 kg. Their original feature is that they oscillate continuously between 2 altitudes for 2 to 3 weeks. They are very useful for studying the stratosphere.
|Infrared Montgolfiere balloons at a glance|
|Envelope volume||45,000 m3|
|Lifting gas||Hot air (helium for launch)|
|Ceiling altitude||30 km by day, 20 km at night|
|Flight duration||Several weeks|
|Payload mass||50 kg|
|Launch sites||South America, Equator|
Initially conceived to study Mars, the aeroclipper balloon has the ability to simultaneously acquire readings in the air, from the gondola, and in the water, using a probe at the end of a guide rope attached to the balloon. The aeroclipper drifts 50 m above the sea surface for several weeks, making it especially useful for studying ocean-atmosphere interactions.