Mexican Institute Launches Suborbital Mission to Study Contaminants in Stratosphere with NASA and National Science Foundation

IPN to Join NASA Mission with Experimental Ship in Stratosphere

The National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) will embark on its first suborbital mission to the stratosphere in collaboration with NASA and the United States National Science Foundation. The mission, led by Mario Alberto Mendoza Bárcenas, a researcher at the Aerospace Development Center (CDA) of IPN, will take place from McMurdo Base on Ross Island near New Zealand in December and January.

The Emidds-6 module, an experimental module for iterative design of satellite subsystems version 6, will be launched aboard super-pressure balloons (SPB) to reach its maximum floating point. This trajectory will enable the identification of contaminants, specifically microplastics in the stratosphere through image capture and environmental data collection during flight.

Due to the presence of a persistent high-pressure system known as the polar vortex over Antarctica, Emidds-6 can maintain a constant altitude for an extended period, allowing for valuable data collection. The module will use sensors to measure humidity, temperature, relative humidity, and ultraviolet radiation.

In July, Emidds-6 underwent technical and electromagnetic compatibility evaluations by NASA experts to ensure compliance with standards. The mission involved experts from IPN, Institutes of Applied Sciences and Technology and Engineering at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Western Institute of Technology and Higher Studies (ITESM), and Molina Center for Energy and Environment.

Overall, this mission aims to characterize the stratospheric environment in low latitudes using Mexican aerospace technology. It positions IPN as a key player in cutting-edge research and scientific exploration.

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