The Stratospheric Balloon Base of Launch located in the region of Trapani-Milo - actually closed and non operational since 2010 - was opened in 1975 and has represented for more than 30 years a world structure able to carry out the design, the launch and the flight management of this specific technique, with a specialization in the systems of great mass and volume.
Here below, all the technical informations about the centre during its operational life.
The launch base is located within an old airport 90 hectares large at the outskirts of Trapani, an ideal geographic location for trans-Mediterranean and transatlantic launchs.
Thanks to the former utilisation, the base presents a very large launch pad with direct visibility from control tower and full equipped control center with high technology tracking and communication systems. Four integration hangars are available at the base for payload integration and tests, each of them equipped with direct Lan access, air conditioning, electric and mechanic equipment as well as overhead travelling cranes. Base personnel also has engineered several balloon gondolas equipped with telemetry and communication which can host scientific payloads if needed. Systems and vehicles necessary for balloon launch and payload recovery are as well provided.
During last years several types of balloons have been launched successfully from the base ranging from 100.000 balloons to 1.100.000 m3 balloons.
During the first twenty years of the Base, activities were dedicated almost entirely to balloons. Today, thanks to the new technologies in the field of telecommunications and information technology, we are targeting support activities of small space missions, supporting developing countries to allow access to space, improving technological transfer and improving SME's processes
The balloons represent an alternative and/or a significant complement to satellites and to the International Space Station: in the field of atmosphere physics they are a favoured means; in astrophysics and cosmic radiations studies they are a complementary agile method that allows quick responses at reduced costs. In many sectors of Engineering Science and Biomedicine they offer interesting prospects.
ASI manages the activities of the base by defining its programmes and by financing its operations and its investments.