Telescope, Far-infrared, Balloon Borne, Gondola

This balloon gondola was a multi-purpose, multi-institutional telescope facility for infrared astronomical studies. The instrument consists of a balloon-borne Cassegrain telescope with a 102-cm mirror. It was built in 1971 by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the University of Arizona and flown nineteen times since 1972. Thirteen flights were successful. A total of six different infra-red instruments were flown at the focal plane of the mirror. Data gathered with this instrument contributed significantly to the understanding of a number of fundamental astronomical problems and geophysical problems. The gondola system also represents an important stage in the development of stabilized platforms in scientific ballooning. It was transferred by SAO to NASM in 1996 and has been stored at the Garber facility since then. The gondola system also represents the operational stage in the development of stabilized platforms in scientific ballooning.