June 28, 2015 to July 2, 2015
JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort
Etc/GMT-7 timezone

Cryogenics on the Stratospheric TeraHertz Observatory

Jul 1, 2015, 11:45 AM
Tucson Ballroom F

Tucson Ballroom F

Contributed Oral Presentation CEC-10 - Aerospace C3OrB - Aerospace Systems


Gary Mills (Ball Aerospace)


The Stratospheric TeraHertz Observatory (STO) is a NASA funded, Long Duration Balloon experiment designed to address a key problem in modern astrophysics: understanding the Life Cycle of the Interstellar Medium. STO surveys a section of the Galactic plane in the dominant interstellar cooling line at 1.9 THz and the important star formation tracer at 1.46 THz, at ~1 arc minute angular resolution, sufficient to spatially resolve atomic, ionic and molecular clouds at 10 kpc. The STO instrument package uses a liquid helium cryostat to maintain the THz receiver to less than 9 K and to cool the low noise amplifiers to less than 20 K. The first STO mission flew in January of 2012 and the second mission is planned for December 2015. The second STO mission will add two cryocoolers to the cryostat to enhance and extend the mission life. This paper discusses the integration of the STO instrument into an existing cryostat and the cryogenic aspects of the launch and operation of the STO balloon mission in the challenging Antarctic environment.

Primary author

Gary Mills (Ball Aerospace)


Mr Abram Young (University of Arizona) Mr Brian Duffy (University of Arizona) Mr Rueben Dominguez (University of Arizona)

Presentation materials