PROJECT ORISON              



Our atmosphere severely degrades the quality of the astronomical observations that can be performed with telescopes and also prevents observations at ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. In addition to that, bad weather also prevents observations, and the atmosphere causes lots of other unwanted effects. Astronomical research that needs to avoid the severe limitations imposed by the atmosphere has been traditionally performed from Space. Unfortunately, space missions are extremely expensive, complex, require years of development (even when dealing with just one simple experiment), and their difficulties are immense. However, conditions in the high stratosphere are very similar to those of outer space and currently there are developments in stratospheric balloons and other technologies that can make space-quality observations possible from the high stratosphere.

Hence, the use of platforms onboard stratospheric balloons allows overcoming most of these limitations at much lower cost and with fewer complications than in satellites platforms. Besides, the latest available technology can be used in the payloads and the response time is much faster than for space missions. The use of this technique can potentially boost several fields of astronomy, including planetary science which usually needs fast reaction to study sudden or unexpected phenomena. In addition, these platforms have other scientific uses, not only in astronomy. Several space agencies have ongoing balloon programs since several decades, although the balloon missions launched by the space agencies usually have a considerable degree of complexity and there is no permanent telescopic payload available for general use.  We find that there are many fields in astronomy that would benefit from a European balloon program apart from the fields in astronomy that have already used balloon missions from Antartica or near the north pole in the past. The goal of this project is to carry out a feasibility and design study of an astronomically-oriented balloon facility that could deploy one or several small-to-medium-sized stabilized telescopes and a suite of other scientific instruments as light payloads to do state of the art research at acceptable costs, and not necessarily from remote locations. The facility could also have other uses outside astronomy.

To design the payload and the final infrastructure we are seeking input from different teams that can have different science cases and can be interested in the final infrastructure. 

Here you can find a questionaire  where you can provide input.

Horizon 2020
Call: H2020-INFRASUPP-2015-2
Topic: INFRASUPP-2-2015
Type of action: CSA

NUMBER — 690013 — ORISON


  • Project coordinator: José Luis Ortiz (IAA)
  • Project manager: José Juan López Moreno (Pepe) (IAA)
  • Participants & Team members:
    • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Spain (ES)
      • José Luis Ortiz, Project Coordinator
      • José Juan López Moreno (Pepe), Project Manager
      • René Duffard
      • Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel
    • Universität Stuttgart (USTUTT), Stuttgart, Germany (DE)
      • Jürgen Wolf
      • Karsten Schindler
      • Friederike Graf
    • Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (MPG), Germany (DE)
      • Thomas Müller
      • Philipp Maier
    • Ernst & Young (formerly Atomm)
      • Lluis Bereguer Poblet, E&Y team leader
      • Luis Alvarez Cuevas
      • Jorge Baztarrica, E&Y support

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