DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 39. Laboratory Investigations
Oral, Chair(s): J. Allen and R.A. Baragiola, Friday, October 11, 2002, 8:45-10:15 and 10:45-11:15am, Ballroom

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[39.08] Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument (HASI) test by a stratospheric balloon experiment

M. Fulchignoni, V. Gaborit (LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, France), A. Aboudam, F. Angrilli, M. Antonello, S. Bastianello, C. Bettanini, G. Bianchini, G. Colombatti, F. Ferri, P. Lion Stoppato (CISAS, Università di Padova, Italy)

We developped a series of balloon experiments parachuting a 1:1 scale mock up of the Huygens probe from an altitude larger than 30 km in order to simulate at planetary scale the final part of the descent of the probe in the Titan atmosphere. The Earth atmosphere represents a natural laboratory where most of the physical parameters meet quite well the bulk condition of Titan's environment, with the exception of temperature.

A first balloon experiment has been carried out in June 2001 and the results have been reported at the last DPS (V. Gaborit et al., BAAS 33, 38.03)

The mock up of the probe descending in the Titan atmosphere for the Huygens Cassini Mission has been successfully launched with stratospheric balloon from Italian Space Agency Base “Luigi Broglio” in Sicily and recovered on May 30th 2002. The probe has been lifted at 32 km altitude and then released to perform a 45 minutes descent decelerated by parachute, to simulate Huygens mission at Titan.

Preliminary aerodynamics study of the probe has focused on the achievement of a descent velocity profile and a spin rate profile, satisfying the Huygens mission to Titan requirements. The descent velocity and spin rate have been calculated by solving a system of ODE describing the translational and rotational motion of the probe trough the earth atmosphere during parachute aided descent Results of these calculations have driven the choice of an appropriate angle of attack of the blades in the bottom of the probe and ballast weight during flight.

The probe is hosting spares of HASI sensors, housekeeping sensors and other dedicated sensors, Beagle II UV Sensors and Huygens SSP Tilt Sensor, for a total of 77 acquired sensor channels, sampled during ascent, drift and descent phase.

Main goals are i) to verify sensor performance and perform a realistic functional test in dynamical and environmental conditions similar to those during the descent in Titan atmosphere; ii) to investigate impact at ground to check the impact detection sequence of HASI accelerometer and HASI in the surface phase; iii) to test the codes developped to perfor the descent trajectory reconstruction of the Huygens probe in the Titan atmosphere.

An integrated data acquisition and instrument control system has been developed, based on PC architecture and soft-real-time application. Sensors channels have been sampled at the nominal HASI data rates, with a max rate of 1 kHz. Software has been developed for data acquisition, onboard storage and telemetry transmission satisfying all requests for real-time monitoring, diagnostic and redundancy.

If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries, it is as follows:


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.