FIREBall-2: Advancing TRL while doing proof-of-concept astrophysics on a suborbital platform

Erika T. Hamden, Keri Hoadley, D. Christopher Martin, David Schiminovich, Bruno Milliard, Shouleh Nikzad, Ramona Augustin, Philippe Balard, Patrick Blanchard, Nicolas Bray, Marty Crabill, Jean Evrard, Albert Gomes, Robert Grange, Julia Gross, April Jewell, Gillian Kyne, Michele Limon, Nicole Lingner, Mateusz MatuszewskiNicole Melso, Frédéri Mirc, Johan Montel, Hwei Ru Ong, Donal O'Sullivan, Sandrine Pascal, Etienne Perot, Vincent Picouet, Muriel Saccoccio, Brian Smiley, Xavier Soors, Pierre Tapie, Didier Vibert, Isabelle Zenone, Jose Zorrilla

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

2 Scopus citations


Here we discuss advances in UV technology over the last decade, with an emphasis on photon counting, low noise, high eï¬ ciency detectors in sub-orbital programs. We focus on the use of innovative UV detectors in a NASA astrophysics balloon telescope, FIREBall-2, which successfully flew in the Fall of 2018. The FIREBall-2 telescope is designed to make observations of distant galaxies to understand more about how they evolve by looking for diffuse hydrogen in the galactic halo. The payload utilizes a 1.0-meter class telescope with an ultraviolet multi-object spectrograph and is a joint collaboration between Caltech, JPL, LAM, CNES, Columbia, the University of Arizona, and NASA. The improved detector technology that was tested on FIREBall-2 can be applied to any UV mission. We discuss the results of the flight and detector performance. We will also discuss the utility of sub-orbital platforms (both balloon payloads and rockets) for testing new technologies and proof-of-concept scientifi c ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI
EditorsThomas George, M. Saif Islam
ISBN (Electronic)9781510626294
StatePublished - 2019
Event2019 Micro- and Nanotechnology (MNT) Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI Conference - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Apr 14 2019Apr 18 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Conference2019 Micro- and Nanotechnology (MNT) Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • CGM
  • Galaxy Evolution
  • Scientific Ballooning
  • TRL Advancement
  • UV detectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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