BSMILES - A balloon-borne superconducting submillimeter-wave limb-emission sounder for stratospheric measurements

Yoshihisa Irimajiri, Takeshi Manabe, Satoshi Ochiai, Harunobu Masuko, Takamasa Yamagami, Yoshitaka Saito, Naoki Izutsu, Tomomi Kawasaki, Michiyoshi Namiki, Isao Murata

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24 Citations (Scopus)


A balloon-borne superconducting submillimeterwave limb-emission sounder (BSMILES) was developed to observe thermal emission lines from stratospheric minor constituents. BSMILES carries a 300-mm-diameter offset parabolic antenna, a 624-639-GHz superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) receiver, a three-axis fiber-optical gyroscope, and an acousto-optical spectrometer. BSMILES was launched from the Pacific Coast of Japan. All systems operated properly and emission line spectra of stratospheric gases, such as O 3, HCl, HO2, and O3 isotopes were measured. The system noise temperature in double sideband (DSB) during the flight was less than 460 K over the observing bandwidth with a best value of 330 K that is 11 times as large as the quantum limit (11hv/kB). After the observation, the gondola splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and was retrieved. Almost all instruments were waterproofed, and it has been proved that they are reusable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jan


  • Balloon application
  • Stratospheric measurement
  • Submillimeter-wave technology
  • Superconductor-insulator-super-conductor (SIS) mixer


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