IPN to Join NASA Mission with Experimental Ship in Stratosphere

The National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) is set to participate in a suborbital mission to the stratosphere with the Emidds-6 (Experimental Module for the Iterative Design of Satellite Subsystems version 6), in collaboration with NASA. This marks the first time the IPN will be involved in such a mission, with the flight scheduled to depart from Antarctica at the end of December and January. Invited by NASA and the United States National Science Foundation, the IPN will join the mission with its experimental module aboard a ship departing from McMurdo Base in Antarctica.

Leading the project is Mario Alberto Mendoza Bárcenas, a researcher at the Aerospace Development Center (CDA) of the IPN. The special mission FY25 with Emidss-6 will involve a trajectory of one revolution around the Earth in 15 days using super-pressure balloons. One of the objectives of the mission is to develop instrumentation to identify contaminants, such as microplastics, in the stratosphere and capture images related to altitude during the ascent of the platform to its maximum floating point.

The unique atmospheric circulation pattern over Antarctica allows for a constant altitude for a longer period, enabling Mexican aerospace technology to collect and store data on environmental variables such as humidity, temperature, relative humidity, and ultraviolet radiation through commercial-grade devices. The module will also monitor air quality parameters like ozone concentration and particulate matter density using specialized sensors developed by Mexican researchers.

In July, NASA experts conducted strict technical and electromagnetic compatibility evaluations on Emidss-6 payload to ensure it meets standards before launching into space. The mission’s team consists of experts from various institutes such as IPN, Institutes of Applied Sciences and Technology and Engineering at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Western Institute of Technology and Higher Studies (ITESM), Molina Center for Energy and Environment (Centro de Energía y Medio Ambiente Molina).

By Samantha Johnson

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