ProjectESBO-DS – European Stratospheric Balloon Observatory Design Study

Basic data

European Stratospheric Balloon Observatory Design Study
01/03/2018 to 28/02/2021
Abstract / short description:
Design and development of a new European astronomical research infrastructure for stratospheric balloon-based telescopes. Our approach is to provide a versatile community-accessible observatory capable of covering unserved scientific needs, including those of star- and planet formation studies and exoplanet research. These are particularly associated with requirements for high spatial and spectral resolution far-infrared (FIR) observations, high sensitivity UV observations, and highly accurate visible light photometry. To a certain extent, these needs could also be addressed by space missions. A balloon infrastructure, however, will offer a more cost-efficient and flexible approach, allowing instruments more adaptable to evolving needs (exchangeable and less riskadverse), longer overall observation times (possibility to refill cooling fluids), and larger mirror sizes (less severe launcher restrictions). So far, stratospheric telescopes, with the exception of SOFIA, have mostly served a single purpose and did not fly more than a few times. The proposed infrastructure, in contrast, will provide regular flights, allowing it to operate as a true observatory.

Involved staff


Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen
Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAAT)
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAAT)
Department of Physics
Faculty of Science


Brüssel, Belgium

will be deleted permanently. This cannot be undone.