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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Balloon-Borne Cryogenic Telescope Testbed (BOBCAT)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Balloon-Borne Cryogenic Telescope Testbed (BOBCAT) is a technology demonstration to develop advanced instrumentation for astrophysical observations at far-infrared wavelengths.  It develops cryogenic techniques as an enabling technology to improve far-IR sensitivity by a factor of 100,000 or more compared to current state-of-the-art instrumentation such as SOFIA.  Cryogenic spectrometers, operating at balloon altitudes, have game-changing capabilities, but achieving this goal while remaining within balloon payload mass limits requires ultra-light cryostats.  This project develops the ultra-light cryostat and demonstrates the ability to transfer cryogenic liquids at balloon altitudes.

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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