NARFE hears about space balloons
Posted by : August 17, 2014| On :
Special to The Monitor
TEXAS–Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF)in Palestine representative Kathleen Smith spoke to the National Active and Retired Employees (NARFE) Aug. 12, at the Sirloin Stockade in Corsicana.
The CSBF provides launch, tracking and control, airspace coordination, telemetry and command systems, and recovery services for large (400 foot in diameter) unmanned, high-altitude (120,000 fett) research balloons.
Their customers include National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centers, universities, and scientific groups from all over the world. Balloon research provides a low cost alternative to rocket and space shuttle launches and provides flexibility as to launch locations.
CSBF has about 70 employees and conducts 20-25 balloon launches a year from permanent facilities in Palestine, New Mexico, Antarctica and Australia.
Other launches have been made from Sweden, Argentina, Greenland, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand and Sicily.
In more than 40 years of operation more than 2,200 balloon launches have been made for 124 universities and technical institutes. Payloads weigh up to 8,000 pounds.
CSBF was established in Boulder, Colo., in 1961, by the National Science Foundation (NSF)and moved to Palestine in 1963.
In 1982, sponsorship was transferred from the NSF to NASA.
In 1987, NASA’s contract to operate the facility was transferred to the Physical Science Laboratory of New Mexico State University.
The contract is administered by the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility Balloon Program Office.
NARFE Chapter 1191 covers Ellis, Navarro and the adjacent parts of the surrounding counties.
For NARFE membership information, call the Corsicana office at (903) 874-3092.