Fujikura Parachute Co.

Shinagawa-ku, Japan

Fujikura Parachute Co.

Shinagawa-ku, Japan

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Saito Y.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Akita D.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Fuke H.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Iijima I.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | And 18 more authors.
Advances in Space Research | Year: 2012

Development of a balloon to fly at higher altitudes is one of the most attractive challenges for scientific balloon technologies. After reaching the highest balloon altitude of 53.0 km using the 3.4 μm film in 2002, a thinner balloon film with a thickness of 2.8 μm was developed. A 5000 m 3 balloon made with this film was launched successfully in 2004. However, three 60,000 m 3 balloons with the same film launched in 2005, 2006, and 2007, failed during ascent. The mechanical properties of the 2.8 μm film were investigated intensively to look for degradation of the ultimate strength and its elongation as compared to the other thicker balloon films. The requirement of the balloon film was also studied using an empirical and a physical model assuming an axis-symmetrical balloon shape and the static pressure. It was found that the film was strong enough. A stress due to the dynamic pressure by the wind shear is considered as the possible reason for the unsuccessful flights. A 80,000 m 3 balloon with cap films covering 9 m from the balloon top will be launch in 2011 to test the appropriateness of this reinforcement. © 2011 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Fuke H.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Izutsu N.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Akita D.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Iijima I.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | And 18 more authors.
Advances in Space Research | Year: 2011

The super-pressure balloon (SPB) has been expected to be a flight vehicle that can provide a long flight duration to science. Since 1997, we have developed the SPB. Now we are at the phase of developing an SPB of a practical size. In 2009, we carried out a test flight of a pumpkin-shaped SPB with a 60,000 m3 volume. The undesirable result of this flight aroused us to resolve the deployment instability of the pumpkin-shaped SPB, which has been known as one of the most challenging issues confronting SPB development. To explore this deployment issue, in 2010, we carried out a series of ground tests. From results of these tests, we found that an SPB design modified from pumpkin, named "tawara", can be a good candidate to greatly improve the deployment stability of the lobed SPB. © 2011 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Saito Y.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Iijima I.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Matsuzaka Y.,Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | Matsushima K.,Fujikura Parachute Co. | And 3 more authors.
Advances in Space Research | Year: 2014

The essential reason of the lobed-pumpkin shaped super-pressure balloon to withstand against the high pressure is that the local curvature of the balloon film is kept small. Recently, it has been found that the small local curvature can also be obtained if the balloon is covered by a diamond-shaped net with a vertically elongated shape. The development of the super-pressure balloon using this method was started from a 3-m balloon with a polyethylene film covered by a net using Kevlar ropes. The ground inflation test showed the expected high burst pressure. Then, a 6-m and a 12-m balloon using a polyethylene film and a net using the Vectran were developed and stable deployment was checked through the ground inflation tests. The flight test of a 3000 m3 balloon was performed in 2013 and shown to resist a pressure of at least 400 Pa. In the future, after testing a new design to relax a possible stress concentration around the polar area, test flights of scaled balloons will be performed gradually enlarging their size. The goal is to launch a 300,000 m3 superpressure balloon. © 2014 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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