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LA MASIA I L’HANGAR
THE EARTH BASE IS CONCEIVED AS A TECHNICAL FACILITY ATTACHED TO AN EXISTING CATALAN COUNTRY HOUSE SITUATED IN LLEIDA, IN CATALONIA. THE BASE WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE AREA AS AN ALREADY EXISTING TOURISTIC DESTINATION. LLEIDA IS A NOT VERY MUCH POPULATED AREA, BUT IT IS VERY GOOD CONNECTED TO A MAIN EUROPEAN CITY WITH ALL THE CULTURAL AND LEISURE INFRASTRUCTURE (1 HOUR BY HIGH SPEED TRAIN). LLEIDA IS ALSO DESTINATION FOR SPORT TOURISM SUCH AS SKI AND RISK SPORTS.
THE BASE IS DEVELOPED TO HOUSE A LEISURE AND ACCOMMODATION PROGRAM WITH AROUND 20 ROOMS WITH RESTAURANT IN A COUNTRY SIDE LANDSCAPE WITH THE TYPICAL GASTRONOMY OF THE AREA, ENJOYING THE LITTLE BIG PLEASURES TRADITION OFFERS, PRIOR TO THE BREAKTROUGH EXPERIENCE OF BEING RELEASED IN A CAPSULE TOWARDS 40KM WITH A HUGE HELIUM BALLOON.THE TECHNICAL PART OF THE GROUND BASE WILL HOUSE THE HANGAR FOR THE MODULES WITH ALL THE PROCESSING ROOMS NEEDED FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE PRESSURIZED MODULES AND THE BALLOONS. IT WILL BE VERY WELL CONNECTED TO BARCELONA, ZARAGOZA AND MADRID THROUGH ROAD AND HIGH SPEED TRAIN. IT WILL BE OBVIOUSLY REACHABLE BY AIR, AND A PERMANENT SIKORSKY S64 HELICOPTER WILL BE BASED THERE TO GO AND SEARCH FOR THE MODULES AT THEIR DESCENT.

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THE BASE CONCEPT IS THAT OF THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TRADITIONAL WAY OF LEAVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE BY REHABILITATING A TYPICAL CATALAN COUNTRY SIDE HOUSE (MASIA) AND THE NEW USE BROUGHT IN BY THE HANGAR WITH THE CAPSULES, AND THE PAVILION FOR THE AUDIENCE TO ASSIST TO THE LAUNCHES.

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THE HANGAR AND AUDIENCE PAVILLION ARE CONCEIVED AS LIGHT STEEL STRUCTURES, ABLE TO BE DISMANTLED AND BROUGHT SOMEWHERE ELSE WITHIN DAYS. UNDERNEATH DIFFERENT PREFABRICATED BOXES WILL HOUSE THE DIFFERENT PROCESSING ROOMS BOTH FOR THE CAPSULES AND THE BALLOONS. THE CAPSULES WILL BE BROUGHT IN BY SIKORSKY S64 HELICOPTERS AND A BRIDGE CRANE THAT GOES THROUGH THE HANGAR UNTIL A TELESCOPIC PLATFORM THAT RISES THE CAPSULE UNTIL THE RELEASE POINT AFTER THE BALLOON IS INFLATED WITH HELIUM. IT WILL THEN ELEVATE WHILE THE HELIUM EXPANDS EXPANDS INSIDE THE BALLOON AND THE CAPSULE WILL ASCEND AND FINALLY GET INVISIBLE TO THE EYE.

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THE AUDIENCE PAVILION WILL ALLOW TO WITNESS THE CAPSULE RELEASE FROM AN OUTDOOR LOOK OUT. BELOW THERE WILL BE A CAFETERIA AND SHOP. IT WILL HAVE CAPACITY FOR 100 CARS AND 400 PEOPLE SEATING.

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007.concept base

EARTH BASE
THE EARTH BASE IS CONCEIVED AS AN UNDERGROUND FACILITY SITUATED IN LLEIDA, IN CATALONIA. THE BASE WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE AREA AS AN ALREADY EXISTING TOURISTIC DESTINATION. LLEIDA IS A NOT VERY MUCH POPULATED AREA, BUT IT IS VERY GOOD CONNECTED TO A MAIN EUROPEAN CITY WITH ALL THE CULTURAL AND LEISURE INFRASTRUCTURE (1 HOUR BY HIGH SPEED TRAIN). LLEIDA IS ALSO DESTINATION FOR SPORT TOURISM SUCH AS SKI AND RISK SPORTS.
THE BASE IS DEVELOPED TO HOUSE A LEISURE AND ACCOMMODATION PROGRAM WITH AROUND 50 ROOMS WITH RESTAURANTS, CAFETERIAS, SPA AND WELLNESS CENTER AND CONVENTION CENTER. IT IS PLACED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NATURE AND SOME SPORTS FACILITIES WILL RELATE THE COMPLEX WITH THE EXISTING LANDSCAPE SUCH AS TENNIS COURTS AND A GOLF COURSE STARTING IN THE FACILITY. THE TECHNICAL PART OF THE GROUND BASE WILL HOUSE THE HANGAR FOR THE MODULES WITH ALL THE PROCESSING ROOMS NEEDED FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE PRESSURIZED MODULES AND THE BALLOONS. IT WILL BE CONNECTED BY ROAD TO THE MAIN HIGH SPEED ROADS GOING FROM BARCELONA TO ZARAGOZA AND MADRID. IT WILL BE OBVIOUSLY REACHABLE BY AIR, AND A PERMANENT SIKORSKY S64 HELICOPTER WILL BE BASED THERE TO GO AND SEARCH FOR THE MODULES AT THEIR DESCENT.

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THE BASE CONCEPT IS THAT OF A NATURAL LANDSCAPE THAT IS MODIFIED, BY A FALLING WATER DROP. IN THE RESULTING ONDULATIONS OF THE SURFACE, SEVERAL ROOF LEVELS AND SKYLIGHTS ARE CREATED THAT ALLOW THE LIGHT INTO THE UNDERGROUND FACILITIES. SEVERAL PATIOS ALSO PROVIDE VENTILATION AND ILLUMINATION TO THE ROOM AREAS. THE ROOF IS THEN AN ONDULATING LANDSCAPE WITH VEGETATION SUCH AS LOCAL FRUIT TREES.

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THE PRESSURIZED MODULES ARE PROCESSED IN THE TECHNICAL AREAS, PARTIALLY UNDERGROUND, AND THEN THEY ARE CARRIED THROUGH TUNNELS TO THE MIDDLE OF THE SITE WHERE AN ELEVATOR BRINGS THEM TO THEIR LAUNCH POINT, SEVERAL METERS ABOVE THE ROOFS.

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FROM THAT POINT THE BALLOON IS CONNECTED AND LAY DOWN THROUGH AN OPEN AIR CORRIDOR SIDE TO THE TECHNICAL AREA. WHEN THE HELIUM IS INTRODUCED, THE BALLOON STARTS TO INFLATE AND WITH THE SUFFICIENT VOLUME, IT STARTS TO ELEVATE. THE PRESSURIZED CABIN IS THEN RELEASED AND TAKES OFF. THE HELIUM EXPANDS INSIDE THE BALLOON AND THE CAPSULE ASCENDS AND FINALLY GETS INVISIBLE TO THE EYE. THE ADVENTURE IS JUST STARTED.

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THE  CONCEPT
THE PRINCIPAL CONCEPT OF THE NEAR SPACE HOTEL IS THAT OF A PRESSURIZED CAPSULE LIFTED BY A HELIUM BALLOON AS HIGH AS 40KM ON A FREE FLIGHT. THERE, THE NEARSPACE TOURISTS WILL ENJOY OF A FEW HOURS (UP TO ONE DAY AND NIGHT) OF FLIGHT THROUGH THE TROPOSPHERE. AT THAT HEIGHT (40KM) THE SKY ALREADY APPEARS AS BLACK, WITH A INCREASED BRIGHT OF THE STARS. OBVIOUSLY THERE IS NO WEIGHTLESSNESS (BECAUSE THERE IS NEITHER FREE FALL NOR ORBITAL VELOCITY) BUT THE TOURIST WILL ENJOY OF A CERTAIN CURVATURE OF THE EARTH. THEY WILL BE ABLE TO SPEND ONE NIGHT, NOT JUST UNDER THE STARS, BUT ALMOST BETWEEN THEM. THE PRINCIPLES AND TECHNOLOGIES ARE BASED ON SPACE HERITAGE AND ESTABLISHED TECHNOLOGIES.

THE GS NEARSPACE CAPSULE IS A PRESSURIZED CAPSULE WITH OPEN LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS: THE TRAVELLERS BRING WITH THEM EVERYTHING THEY NEED, USE IT AND WHEN LEAVING, REMOVE ALL WASTE .

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THE CAPSULE IS LAUNCHED FROM A BASE-HOTEL PLACED IN THE PLAINS OF LLEIDA, NEAR BARCELONA. FROM THERE IT ASCENDS BY EXPANDING THE BALLOON WITH HELIUM AND REACHES THE ALTITUDE OF 40KM. THE CAPSULE IS MONITORIZED DURING THE WHOLE FLIGHT. AFTER THE BALLOON IS RELEASED, A PARAFOIL PROVIDES A GENTLE DESCENT TOWARDS THE EARTH. A SAFE LANDING WILL BE SECURED BY THE USE OF AIRBAGS THAT WILL EXPAND JUST BEFORE TOUCHING THE LAND.

DUE TO THE HEIGHT AND THE WINDS, THE CAPSULE MAY LAND SOME HUNDRED KILOMETERS AWAY FROM THE PLACE IT WAS LAUNCHED. ONCE LANDED A SPECIAL RECOVERY UNIT OF SIKORSKY S-64 HELICOPTERS WILL BRING THE CAPSULE BACK WITH THE OTHERS, WHERE IT WILL BE PROCESSED FOR IT NEXT FLIGHT, A FEW DAYS LATER.

THE INTERIOR OF THE GONDOLA WILL BE ARRANGED AS A LUXURIOUS AND COMFORTABLE CAPSULE. IT IS A PERSONAL SPACE FOR RESTING, RELAXING, READING, STARGAZING. THE INTERIOR DESIGN STRATEGY ESTABLISHED IS TO ABSORB THE STORAGE SPACES NEEDED: FANS, CONDUITS BELOW IN THE LOWER PART OF THE SPHERE AND INSIDE THE WALLS, INSIDE AN ARTIFICIAL LANDSCAPE BUILT WITH REIGID FOAMS. FURNITURE AND RESOURCES ARE INTEGRATED INTO THIS ONDULATING LANDSCAPE.

THE WINDOW STRUCTURE IS A TECHNICAL CHALLENGE DUE TO ITS SIZE. THE GOAL IS TO PROVIDE A BREATHTAKING VIEW OF EARTH AND SKY, SPECIALLY AT NIGHT WITH THE LIGHTS OFF.

MISSION ANALYSIS

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MODULE PROGRAM

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00.EFFECTS OF VACUUM
Humans and animals exposed to vacuum will lose consciousness after a few seconds and die of hypoxia within minutes, but the symp- toms are not nearly as graphic as commonly shown in pop culture. Blood and other body fluids do boil when their pressure drops below 6.3 kPa, (47 torr) the vapour pressure of water at body temperature. This condition is called ebullism. The steam may bloat the body to twice its normal size and slow circulation, but tissues are elastic and porous enough to prevent rupture. Ebu- llism is slowed by the pressure containment of blood vessels, so some blood remains liquid. Swelling and ebullism can be restrained by containment in a flight suit. Cold or oxygen-rich atmospheres can sustain life at pressures much lower than atmospheric, as long as the density of oxygen is similar to that of standard sea-level atmosphere. The colder air temperatures found at altitudes of up to 3 km generally compensate for the lower pressures there. Above this altitude, oxygen enrichment is necessary to prevent altitude sickness, and spacesuits are necessary to prevent ebullism above 19 km. Most spacesuits use only 20 kPa (150 torr) of pure oxygen, just enough to sustain full consciousness. This pressure is high enough to prevent ebullism, but simple evaporation of blood can still cause decompression sickness and gas embolisms if not managed. Rapid decompression can be much more dangerous than vacuum exposure itself. Even if the victim does not hold his breath, venting through the windpipe may be too slow to prevent the fatal rupture of the delicate alveoli of the lungs. Eardrums and sinuses may be ruptured by rapid decompression, soft tissues may bruise and seep blood, and the stress of shock will accelerate O2 consumption leading to hypoxia.

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BASIS

01.AUGUST PICCARD
Was a Swiss physicist, inventor and explorer. He designed a spherical, pressurized aluminum gondola that would allow ascent to great altitude without requiring a pressure suit.On May 27, 1931, Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer took off from Augsburg, Germany, and reached a record altitude of 15,785 m (51,775 ft). During this flight, Piccard was able to gather substantial data on the upper atmosphere, as well as measure cosmic rays. On August 18, 1932, launched from Dübendorf, Switzerland, Piccard and Max Cosyns made a second record-breaking ascent to 16,200 m (53,152 ft). He ultimately made a total of twenty-seven balloon flights setting a final record of 23,000 m.

02.PROJECT STRATO-LAB
Stato-Lab was developed to allow humans to make observations and perform experiments in the upper reaches of the stratosphere using balloons constructed of a thin layer of polyethylene plastic. These balloons were developed during the earlier Projects Helios and Skyhook  by Jean Piccard  and Otto C. Winzen. Their purpose had been to reduce the weight of the balloons to a fraction of previously used rubber balloons. The Strato Lab program used both open and pressurized gondolas built by Winzen Research Inc. Strato-Lab built on the earlier programs with goals to obtain fundamental data in the fields of astronomy, astro and atmospheric physics, and human physiology at high altitudes.

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03.PROJECT MANHIGH
Project Manhigh was a United States Air Force balloon flight program designed to investigate the human factors of space flight by taking men into the stratosphere. Since space is considered a hostile environment, in the middle 50′s the Air Force needed to know how humans could survive there and sought to discover more of the design principles for space capsules and how to study men and their reactions when in space. The collection of such data would permit intelligent planning of future space flight experiments. Manhigh I to 29,500 m; Manhigh II to 30,900 m; Manhigh III to 29,900 m. With the pilot and the scientific payload, the Manhigh II gondola had a total mass of 748 kg (1,650 lb). At maximum altitude, the balloon expanded to a diameter of 60 m (200 ft) with a volume of over 85,000 m3 (111,000 cu yd). The capsule was an aluminum-alloy, hermetically-sealed unit 8 feet high and 3 feet in diameter, with hemisphe- rically-shaped ends. The capsule was supported in an upright position by a tubular aluminum structure, especially designed to  shock-absorbe system during landing.

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04.PROJECT EXCELSIOR
Project Excelsior was a series of high-altitude parachute jumps made by Captain (later Colonel) Joseph Kittinger of the United States Air Force  in 1959 and 1960 to test the Beaupre multi-stage parachute  system. In one of these jumps Kittinger set world records  for the highest parachute jump, the longest parachute freefall and the fastest freefall, all of which still stand. The ascent took one hour and 31 minutes, climbing to an altitude of 31,333 m (102,800 ft). Kittinger stayed at peak altitude for 12 minutes, waiting for the balloon to drift over the landing target area. He then stepped out of the gondola to begin his descent. The small stabilizer chute deployed successfully and Kittinger fell for 4 minutes and 36 seconds, setting a still-standing world record for the longest parachute free-fall. At an altitude of 5330 m (17500 ft), Kittinger opened his main chute and landed safely. The whole descent took 13 minutes and 45 seconds and set the current world record for the highest parachute jump. During the descent, Kittinger experienced temperatures as low as −94 °F (−70 °C). In the free-fall stage, he reached a top speed of 988 km/h (614 mph).

05.PROJECT STARGAZER
An early balloon-borne project to carry out astronomical studies at very high altitude. It involved only one flight. On Dec. 13-14, 1962, Joseph Kittinger  and William White, an astronomer, flew a gondola suspended beneath an 85-meter-diameter Mylar  balloon to a height of 25,000 m over New Mexico. In addition to obtaining telescopic observations from above 95% of Earth’s atmosphere, the flight provided valuable data for the development of pressure suits and associated life support systems during a 13-hour stay at the edge of space. The balloon that supported the Stargazer capsule was a 280-foot diameter sphere of Mylar film; however, at launch only a comparatively small bubble of helium gas occupied the top of the balloon with the remainder of the balloon envelope dangling beneath. As the balloon rose, the gas expanded, filling the balloon until at maximum altitude, it was completely filled and reshaped the envelope into a sphere. The gondola was supported below the balloon on a cable giving a total height at takeoff of approximately 400 feet.

MANNED HIGH ALTITUDE BALLOON FLIGHTS

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00.HIGH ALT. BALLOON
A balloon is a bag filled with heated air or a light gas so that it rises and floats in the air. A balloon rises because the heated air or gas inside is less dense than the surrounding air. There are hot-air balloons and gas balloons. Hot-air balloons are mainly use for sporting and they rise because the air inside the balloon is warmer and lighter than the surrounding air. Charles’ Law explains how this is possible. It states that the volume of a gas increases as its temperature increases and if its pressure stays the same. Gas balloons are use for sport ballooning, scientific research, and many other purposes. These balloons may be filled with hydrogen, helium, or natural gas. The four most important kinds of gas balloons are the sport balloons, expan- dable balloons, super pressure balloons, and the zero-pressure balloon. The last three are used for scientific purposes. High altitude balloons are unmanned balloons, usually filled with helium  or hydrogen  that are released into the stratosphere , generally reaching between 18,000 – 36,500m. The most common type of high altitude balloons are weather balloons , other purposes may involve scientific groups and universities for conducting experiments in the upper atmosphere, and modern balloons generally contain electronic equipment such as radio transmitters, cameras, and sometimes satellite navigation systems, such as GPS receivers.

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BASIS

01.PROJECT SKYHOOK
Skyhook balloons were balloons  developed by Otto C. Winzen  and used by the United States Navy  Office of Naval Research in the late 1940s and in the 1950s for atmospheric  research, especially for constant-level meteorological observations at very high altitudes. Instruments like the Cherenkov detector  were first used on skyhook balloons. In the late 1940s, Project Skyhook balloons provided a stable vehicle for long duration observations at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. Balloons, long used for collecting meteorological data, now offered the opportunity of collecting highly specialized information and photographs.

02.PROJECT GENETRIX
Project Genetrix was a United States Air Force  program which, beginning in January 1956, sent 516 surveillance balloons over Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in order to take photographs and collect intelligence. Authorized by President Eisenhower on December 27 1955, Genetrix was the first espionage use of these balloons that had been tested in previous projects.  The balloons were used to monitor the Soviet Union  for such things as nuclear tests.

03.PROJECT MOBY DICK
Project Moby Dick was a Cold War  operation by the U.S. Military  in which large balloons floated cameras  over the Soviet Union . The spy balloons would photograph sensitive Soviet sites and hang in the air until a crew flying the C-119 Flying Boxcar  came by to collect them. The project caused a row between the U.S. and Soviet forces when the Soviets discovered what they (accurately) believed to be the remnants of a U.S. spy camera in February 1952. Other reconnaissance balloon projects from the era included Project Mogul or Project Grandson.

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04.BLAST 1
The balloon was launched by dynamic method assisted by launch vehicle at 15:15 utc on September 28th after a lot of delays and last minute aborts. After a nominal ascent phase the balloon reached float altitude of 122.700 ft at 17:37 utc and started a drift due the southwest. After near 27 hours of flight was sent the cutdown command and the balloon was terminated at 18:24 utc on September 29th when flight over the SW corner of Arizona state. The landing was very good because BLAST managed to land squarely on its crushpads, and the only real damage from landing was one bent leg strut. Another minor damage was at chute shock when the pivot fell into the sun shields and sheared a cable or two and the inner frame got jossled for not being locked.

05.HALO
Payload Mass ~1.5 kg Balloon KCI 1200 Totex Sounding Balloon Balloon Lift ~4.2 kg Gross, ~3 kg Net; with payload resulting in Free Lift of >1.4 kg Helium Volume ~4.06 m3 Flight Trajectory. The project launched a payload with GPS, camera, sensors and communications to an altitude of 30km. I obtained most parts ready years ago, but only recently had time to finish it. The launch was very successful. Things to improve for next one: reflash SiRF III chip so that it works at an altitude over 24km, use yagi antenna instead of omni-directional antenna, improve parachute system. Contrary to this flight, parachute worked well in Flight 1. Impact speed was 27km/h and a witness described the landing being smooth.

06.EOSS
Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) is a Denver, Colorado based non-profit organization that promotes science and education by exploring frontiers in amateur radio and high altitude balloons. Since its first flight in 1990, EOSS has grown its volunteer membership’s numbers and skills over the course of more than 100 launches, ascents into the stratosphere and payload recoveries. In the picture, a sequence of the EOSS 30 deintegration.

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07.CU SPACEFLIGHT
Cambridge University Spaceflight is a student-run society founded in the summer of 2006. The team is now around 10 members strong, composed of undergraduates from various disciplines. We believe that just being interested in space as students is not enough, so we are actively joining the new-space generation by designing and launching our own systems.

08.CSBF
The Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) (established in 1961, formerly known as the National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF)) is a NASA  facility responsible for providing launch, tracking and control, airspace coordination, telemetry and command systems, and recovery services for unmanned, high altitude balloons. Customers of the CSBF include NASA centers, Universities, and scientific groups from all over the world.

09.SPIRIT OF KNOXVILLE
The Spirit of Knoxville is a high altitude balloon project run by amateur scientists and University of Tennessee students, with the ultimate goal of successfully sending an unmanned balloon across the Atlantic Ocean.

UNMANNED HIGH ALTITUDE BALLOON FLIGHTS