The BRRISON mission will utilize a large helium (He) filled balloon, also referred to as a stratospheric scientific balloon, to observe the comet ISON.
A stratospheric scientific balloon’s physical characteristics:
- 150 feet to 400 feet in diameter
- 12 to 60 million cubic feet
- Capable of carrying up to 8,000 pounds of payload
- Can fly at altitudes of 110,000 to 140,000 feet
At the surface of the Earth, the balloon will be taller than the Washington Monument. Once it has reached its goal altitude – for this mission around 120,000 feet – the balloon will expand to a size larger than a football field.