10 meter sub-orbital large balloon reflector (LBR)

Christopher K. Walker, Stefan O'Dougherty, Brian Duffy, William Peters, David Lesser, Craig Kulesa, I. Steve Smith, James Noll, Paul F. Goldsmith, Christopher E. Groppi, Hamdi Mani, Pietro Bernasconi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Under the auspices of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, the University of Arizona, Southwest Research Institute, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Arizona State University, and Johns Hopkins Applied Research Laboratory are developing and demonstrating key technologies required to realize a suborbital, 10 meter class telescope suitable for operation from radio to THz frequencies. The telescope consists of an inflatable, half-aluminized spherical reflector deployed within a much larger carrier balloon - either zero pressure or super pressure. Besides serving as a launch vehicle, the carrier balloon provides both a stable mount and radome for the enclosed telescope. Looking up, the LBR will serve as a telescope. Looking down, the LBR can be used for remote sensing or telecommunication activities. The realization of a large, space-based 10 meter class telescope for far-infrared/THz studies has long been a goal of NASA. By combining successful suborbital balloon and ground-based telescope technologies, the dream of a 10 meter class telescope free of 99% of the Earth's atmospheric absorption in the far-infrared can be realized. The same telescope can also be used to perform sensitive, high spectral and spatial resolution limb sounding studies of the Earth's atmosphere in greenhouse gases and serve as a high flying hub for any number of telecommunications and surveillance activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2014 IEEE Aerospace Conference
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Print)9781479916221
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 IEEE Aerospace Conference - Big Sky, MT, United States
Duration: Mar 1 2014Mar 8 2014

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Other2014 IEEE Aerospace Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky, MT


  • suborbital
  • terahertz antenna
  • terahertz astronomy
  • terahetz telescope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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