Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Data Downloaded via Parachute from a NASA Super-Pressure Balloon

Sirks, Ellen L.; Massey, Richard; Gill, Ajay S.; Anderson, Jason; Benton, Steven J.; Brown, Anthony M.; Clark, Paul; English, Joshua; Everett, Spencer W.; Fraisse, Aurelien A.; Franco, Hugo; Hartley, John W.; Harvey, David; Holder, Bradley; Hunter, Andrew; Huff, Eric M.; Hynous, Andrew; Jauzac, Mathilde; Jones, William C.; Joyce, Nikky; Kennedy, Duncan; Lagattuta, David; Leung, Jason S.-Y.; Li, Lun; Lishman, Stephen; Luu, Thuy Vy T.; McCleary, Jacqueline E.; Nagy, Johanna M.; Netterfield, C. Barth; Paracha, Emaad; Purcaru, Robert; Redmond, Susan F.; Rhodes, Jason D.; Robertson, Andrew; Romualdez, L. Javier; Roth, Sarah; Salter, Robert; Schmoll, Jürgen; Shaaban, Mohamed M.; Smith, Roger; Smith, Russell; Tam, Sut Ieng; Vassilakis, Georgios N.

Data Downloaded via Parachute from a NASA Super-Pressure Balloon Thumbnail


Ajay S. Gill

Steven J. Benton

Paul Clark

Joshua English

Spencer W. Everett

Aurelien A. Fraisse

Hugo Franco

John W. Hartley

David Harvey

Bradley Holder

Eric M. Huff

Andrew Hynous

William C. Jones

Profile Image

Nikky Joyce
Technical Apprentice

Duncan Kennedy

Jason S.-Y. Leung

Lun Li

Stephen Lishman

Thuy Vy T. Luu

Jacqueline E. McCleary

Johanna M. Nagy

C. Barth Netterfield

Emaad Paracha

Robert Purcaru

Susan F. Redmond

Jason D. Rhodes

L. Javier Romualdez

Sarah Roth

Robert Salter

Mohamed M. Shaaban

Roger Smith

Russell Smith

Profile Image

Sut-Ieng Tam
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Georgios N. Vassilakis


In April 2023, the superBIT telescope was lifted to the Earth’s stratosphere by a helium-filled super-pressure balloon to acquire astronomical imaging from above (99.5% of) the Earth’s atmosphere. It was launched from New Zealand and then, for 40 days, circumnavigated the globe five times at a latitude 40 to 50 degrees south. Attached to the telescope were four “drs” (Data Recovery System) capsules containing 5 TB solid state data storage, plus a gnss receiver, Iridium transmitter, and parachute. Data from the telescope were copied to these, and two were dropped over Argentina. They drifted 61 km horizontally while they descended 32 km, but we predicted their descent vectors within 2.4 km: in this location, the discrepancy appears irreducible below ∼2 km because of high speed, gusty winds and local topography. The capsules then reported their own locations within a few metres. We recovered the capsules and successfully retrieved all of superBIT’s data despite the telescope itself being later destroyed on landing.


Sirks, E. L., Massey, R., Gill, A. S., Anderson, J., Benton, S. J., Brown, A. M., …Vassilakis, G. N. (2023). Data Downloaded via Parachute from a NASA Super-Pressure Balloon. Aerospace, 10(11), Article 960.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 30, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2023
Publication Date 2023-11
Deposit Date Feb 21, 2024
Publicly Available Date Feb 21, 2024
Journal Aerospace
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 11
Article Number 960
Keywords Aerospace Engineering
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations