Design Engineering

Canadian academia and industry launch experiments on stratospheric balloons


General DPN

TIMMINS, ON - From August 19 to September 26, 2014, Canadian industry, universities and students from across the country will test their experiments in a near-space environment, thanks to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)'s stratospheric balloon program, Stratos.

Seven Canadian experiments will be flown on these balloons. These include a study of how high energy electrons are lost from the Earth’s radiation belts into the upper atmosphere; taking measurements of aerosol, cloud, smoke and dust in the stratosphere; and determining the vertical distribution of water in the atmosphere, which is critical to understanding its impact on climate.

These balloon launches are part of a partnership between the CSA and the French space agency, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES). Following successful test flights in 2013, both teams are back in Timmins to prepare for their first official stratospheric balloon campaign, Strato Science 2014.

Media are invited to view the first balloon launch only. It is planned for the window of August 19 through 23, 2014, depending on weather conditions. The CSA will confirm the launch date and time on their website and social media networks (Facebook, Twitter).

Quick Facts


The CSA’s Stratospheric Balloon Program, Stratos, was created in 2011.

The Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Base was inaugurated on June 13, 2013;

Two flights were performed in September 2013 to test the CNES’s most recent stratospheric balloon technology and to qualify the new launch site. The Strato Science 2014 campaign falls under a France-Canada collaboration agreement signed on September 30, 2012. Eight stratospheric balloons will be launched between August 19 and September 26, 2014. Six of these payloads are financed by the CSA’s Space Technologies Development Program (STDP) and the Flights for Advancement in Science and Technology (FAST) initiative.

Three Canadian universities are involved: University of Alberta, University of Saskatchewan and York University;

Three Canadian companies are testing their latest technologies: ABB Ltd. (Quebec City, QC), DPL Science Inc. (Montreal, QC) and Xiphos Systems Corp. (Montreal, QC);

These remotely controlled stratospheric balloons can carry up to 1.8 tons of equipment into the stratosphere, require no engine and no fuel, are recoverable, and can reach altitudes of up to 42 km.

“The CSA is offering turnkey services to its space community. Through the Space Technologies Development Program (STDP) and its Flight for Advancement in Science and Technology (FAST) initiative, the CSA is investing in space innovations. Now, thanks to Stratos, the CSA’s stratospheric balloon program, we can give Canadian academia and industry the opportunity to test and validate these innovations, contributing to our country’s highly qualified workforce, which meets a core principle of Canada’s Space Policy Framework-‘inspiring Canadians.'” Canadian Space Agency President, General (ret’d.) Walter Natynczyk


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