We make air sampling heads (inlets) for sampling Reactive Gases and Atmospheric Aerosols to be installed at climate/environmental and air quality observatories.
These air intake systems reflect the ACTRIS and WMO/GAW guidelines for both materials and flow characteristics. Aerosol inlets, made of stainless steel, have a laminar flow, while those for gases, made of Teflon, have a flow that allows an air residence time in the tube of about 2 seconds. However, these flows are user-settable for non-standard sampling.
Our inlets have a control unit that not only reads the sampled air temperatures and humidity but also keeps the airflow constant at the chosen value regardless of wind conditions.
Our pick-up heads have very low power consumption (~5W) because they do not make use of energy-intensive pumps, so they can be used even in places where electricity supply is limited.
LEN has developed an integrated system to provide a telemetry and remote control link for Long Duration Balloon experiments. This product, built and tested using the Iridium satellite platform, is MSITel-II, which replaces the previous MSITel model (discontinued in 2021).
MSITel-II provides for acquiring scientific data via the Ethernet interface or from the three serial interfaces (RS232/RS485). The accepted protocols are:
On-demand (strongly recommended as a more reliable)
A burst with or without an end-of-package mark
Continuous flow (the least reliable)
MSITel-II supports two types of output interfaces:
Serial RS232 for connection to low-speed transceivers (up to two modems)
Ethernet to satellite routers such as Iridium Pilot/Certus or others with speeds in the order of Mbit.
In addition, MSITel-II has RS232 /RS485 interfaces to interact with other housekeeping equipment or external remote control actuators.
Analogue and digital I/Os are available, and a particular class of output actuators, with safety protocols for uses such as pyrotechnic release, instrument activation or others (high-power and opto-isolated).
The MSITel-II protocols maintain good compatibility with previous versions of telemetry but provide new functionality and information.
All our telemetry runs a metalanguage created by the launcher and/or researcher for their needs, making our telemetry very flexible.
MSITel-II was validated in the Hemera ZPB 2022 launch campaign, using an Iridium Certus/Next terminal.
10 to 40V external power supply from multiple sources
Two complete RS232 interfaces to handle Hayes modems with NAL modem power supply
Data storage on microSD (up to two)
USB console port to configure telemetry and check correct operation on the ground
FastEthernet LAN port (for high-speed data download from scientific peripherals)
FastEthernet WAN port (for high-speed satellite modem/router)
Data handling and transmission of over 1Mbps
Three serials that can operate either in RS232 or RS485 (software-selectable to be used for scientific data download or housekeeping up to 115200bps)
One pressure sensor
One humidity sensor
One internal temperature sensor
Eight digital inputs (CMOS tolerance)
Eight opto-isolated outputs (max. 2A)
Two analogue signal inputs (12bit resolution, up to 5Vdc). For higher voltages, an external divider and the new full-scale set in the telemetry configuration must be made
Two 5Vdc full-scale analogue outputs
Two inputs for external temperature sensors
Six opto-isolated power outputs (up to 10A)
One power switch up to 10A for modem/router power supply
MSITel (first version), STRADIUM and STRADIUM-II
MSITel was the first telemetry developed in the early 2000s in close collaboration with IASF Bologna. This telemetry was born to meet not only the needs of ‘experimenters’ but also as primary telemetry that could manage the flight (ballast release, GPS localisation, pyrotechnic activation, …).
The main features are:
It allows the simultaneous use of two satellite modems (typically Iridium NAL) reaching the maximum bandwidth of 4800bps (2400bps for NAL).
Two-way, capable of transmitting to the ground and receiving appropriate commands or remote controls.
Packet data transmission for easy identification.
Direct channels for remote control actuators for release operations or external instrumentation activation.
Automatic transmission of housekeeping information, such as position, temperature, pressure, etc.
Transmission of ‘scientific’ channels with automatic retransmissions of unsent data due to transmission line failure.
Acquisition of scientific data in various formats, continuous flow, packet, and on-demand.
Acquisition of external on-demand housekeeping data (see power control system, modular, up to over 1 KW called SPSys).
Storage of scientific data, housekeeping, logs on CF (Compact Flash).
Redundancy and security on actuating remote controls.
Modems can be selected in parallel or switched alternately as backups in case of need.
In a collaboration between ASI-LEN-IASF and others, in 2008 LEN produced a unit capable of handling multiple MSITels (up to 8) simultaneously to increase bandwidth. The MSITel array was called STRADIUM, tested in ASI (MILO base) in 2008, with a demonstration version of the complete system consisting of a “Splitter” unit, the heart of Stradium, and a total four MSITel units for a total of 8 Trance NAL Corporation.
In the meantime, LEN has produced significant improvements in MSITel’s firmware and the many ground procedures suitable for the profitable use of the product. ASI has defined, after the Sureca-Bit-10 mission, MSITel as the best telemetry currently available on the market.
This is precisely why other space agencies have decided to use MSITel for their stratospheric applications, either as primary or scientific telemetry (PoGOLite, SORA9, Sureca-Bit-10, etc.).
In 2016, ASI commissioned us to improve STRADIUM by creating an upgraded version (STRADIUM-II) that would allow higher bandwidth data transmission using a TCP/IP link.
To realize STRADIUM-II, we had to make a hardware interface (MSITel-IP) that converts the modem port of MSITel to FastEthernet, allowing data to be sent via TCP/IP. We also had to update the firmware of the telemetry and concentrator to add functionality and improve performance.
STRADIUM-II was used in the Olympus experiment launched from Svalbard in summer 2018. On that occasion, the system consisted of:
S. Cecchini, S. Cortiglioni, E. Caroli, L. Magistri, J. Monari, A. Esposito, C. Pianese, E. Ronchi, “A Full Duplex Telemetry System For Long Duration Stratospheric Balloons”, in Proceedings of the 19th ESA Symposium on European Rocket and Balloon Programmes and Related Research, Bad Reichenhall, 7-11 June 2009
Martin Wieser, Leif Kalla, Stas Long Duration Bballoon flight, Advances in Space Research”, in: 2009 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved., doi:10.1016/j.asr.2009.03.014
E. Ronchi, S. Cortiglioni, A. Iarocci, F. Nati, and D. Spoto, “STRADIUM: a telemetry&telecommand system for LDB flights”, in: Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana, v.79, p.926 (2008)
M. Ramponi, C. Macculi, S. Cortiglioni, G. Ventura, D. Spoto, S. Peterzen, S. Cordasco, E.Ronchi, M. Patitucci, S. Poppi, “A NEW MODULAR SYSTEM FOR TELEMETRY-TELECOMMAND CONTINUUM LINK AND POWER SUPPLY IN LONG DURATION BALLOON FLIGHTS”, In: 17th ESA Symposium on European Rocket and Balloon Programmes and Related Research, 30 May – 2 June 2005, Sandefjord, Norway. Ed.: Barbara Warmbein. ESA SP-590, Noordwijk: ESA Publications Division, ISBN 92-9092-901-4, 2005, p. 413 – 418
S. Cortiglioni, G. Bernardi, E. Carretti, S. Cecchini, C. Macculi, C. Sbarra, G. Ventura, M. Baralis, O. Peverini, R. Tascone, S. Bonometto, L. Colombo, G. Sironi, M. Zannoni, V. Natale, R. Nesti, R. Fabbri, J. Monari, M.Poloni, S.Poppi, L. Nicastro, A. Boscaleri, P. de Bernardis, S. Masi, M.V. Sazhin, E. N. Vinyajkin, “BaR-SPOrt: AN EXPERIMENT TO MEASURE THE LINEARLY POLARIZED SKY EMISSION FROM BOTH THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND AND FOREGROUNDS”, in Proceedings of the 16th ESA Symposium on European Rocket and Balloon Programmes and Related Research. St. Gallen, Switzerland, June 2003.ESA Proc., SP-530, 271 (2003)
D. Spoto, K. Bøen, A. Calandrino, A. Cardillo, E. Caroli, S. Cortiglioni, R. Ibba,L. Marchini,A. Orzelli, E. Ronchi, A. Zappettini The SURECA BIT-10 long duration balloon mission: a successful qualification test for a new Iridium® Telemetry in 20th ESA Sympos.