Astronomical research that needs to avoid the severe limitations imposed by the atmosphere has been traditionally performed from Space. Unfortunately, space missions are extremely expensive, complex, require years of development (even when dealing with just one simple experiment), and their difficulties are immense. However, conditions in the high stratosphere are very similar to those of outer space and currently there are developments in stratospheric balloons and other technologies that would make things simpler.
The use of platforms onboard stratospheric balloons allows overcoming most of the atmospheric limitations at much lower cost and with fewer complications than in satellites platforms. The use of this technique can potentially boost several fields of astronomy, including planetary science which usually needs fast response to sudden or unexpected phenomena. We find that there are many fields in astronomy that would benefit from a European balloon program apart from the fields in astronomy that have already used specific balloon missions from Antartica or near the north pole in the past. The goal of the ORISON project is to carry out a feasibility and design study of an astronomically-oriented balloon facility that can deploy one or several small-to-medium-sized stabilized telescopes and a suite of other scientific instruments as light payloads to do state of the art research at acceptable costs, and not necessarily from remote locations such as Antarctica.
To design the payload and final infrastructure we are seeking input from different teams that can have different science cases and can be interested in the final infrastructure. So please fill out the following questionaire.
If you are interested in several different configurations, please fill this form several times. Keep in mind that the infrastructure could be modular, so some modules can be permanent and other modules can be temporal.