Imagine the Universe!

Gamma-Ray Instruments on High Altitude Balloons

Many of the gamma-ray instruments that are flown in space are first developed and tested as balloon-borne payloads. NASA has an active balloon program, flying huge helium research balloons at altitudes of 40 km. The balloons fly for 1 or more days, after which the payloads return to the ground on a parachute. In addition to instrument development, many of the scientific results in gamma-ray astronomy have come from ballooning.

Examples of gamma-ray balloon payloads are the Gamma Ray Imaging Spectrometer (GRIS) ( and the International Focusing Optics Collaboration for microCrab Sensitivity (InFOCµS) (

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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