A Romanian-Australian scientific team successfully launched a stratospheric high-altitude unmanned balloon during the 14th November 2012 Total Solar Eclipse (TSE). Unique images and videos from the most spectacular astronomic event of the year were taken from the near out of space, along with very usefull athmospheric data from the eclipse cone.
The space balloon, named Eclipser 1, was launched in N-E Queensland, Australia, from the outback, 230 miles away north-west from city of Cairns, in the early morning of 14th November (5:21 AM, local time). Eclipser 1 had on-board photo-video equipment, but also an APRS telemetric and GPS systems for the live tracking of the flight and scientific sensors.
The mission of Eclipser 1 was to fly in the cone of TSE and hit an altitude of 25 km during the full totality phase of Eclipse (6:37 AM, local time) for catching, photo and video, the climax of the astronomic event. After the TSE, Elipser 1 continue to rise until burst, 36,9 km altitude – the third place in high-altitude balloons Australian flight from all times.
The team responsible for this experiment was composed of :
Catalin Beldea (RO), project leader, eclipse chaser, amateur astronomer
Florin Mingireanu (RO), Aerospace engineer, scientific researcher at Romanian Space Agency ROSA
Marc Ulieriu (RO), Editor-in-Chief of Stiinta & Tehnica — the oldest popular science magazine in Romania and the organizer of this experiment
Adrian Florescu (RO), radio tracking specialist
Joe Cali (AUS), Legislative compliance, protocols, approvals and liason with CASA and Air Services Australia Air traffic control in Cairns and Brisbane, logistics support
Howard Small (AUS), radio tracking specialist
Samantha Scafe (AUS), radio tracking specialist
The same Romanian team is responsible for two succesfull stratospheric flights, in Eastern Europe, Romania: Stratospherium I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHgP_dfMaCE a space balloon which reached 35,4 km / 116.155 ft) altitude in October 2011, a record for Central and Eastern Europe and also the first space balloon which took tremendous photography of Romania from near out of space) and Stratospherium II (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNUf5y2NpJQ 30 km / 98400 ft) altitude in August 2012).
The Eclipser 1 experiment was organized by Stiinta&Tehnica Magazine together with ROSA and powered by Duracell.