Spacecraft and components manufacturer Ball Aerospace has successfully handed over a cryostat to the University of Arizona.

Cryostat is a low-heat leak tank that contains liquid helium and built for Nasa’s Galactic/Extragalactic Ultralong-Duration Balloon Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory (GUSTO).

The tank is designed to keep the GUSTO instrument cool throughout the planned long-duration balloon flight mission.

Ball Aerospace civil space vice-president and general manager Dr Makenzie Lystrup said: “We are honoured to work with the University of Arizona on Nasa’s GUSTO mission, which will measure emissions from the interstellar medium or the cosmic material found between stars. 

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“Ball is an industry leader in designing and developing cryogenic systems, which includes our cryogenic centre of excellence for the development of unique cryogenic products such as the cryostat for the GUSTO mission.”

Scheduled for launch from Antarctica next year, GUSTO is part of Nasa’s Astrophysics Explorers Program.

The balloon mission is intended to connect parts of the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud galaxies. It will help define the interstellar gas lifecycle.

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The mission will also observe the formation and destruction of star-forming clouds and gas flow in an area close to the centre of the Milky Way.

University of Arizona’s Chris Walker serves as the mission principal investigator of the GUSTO while Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory provides the mission operations.

Ball Aerospace has over 40 years of experience in cryogenic spaceflight systems and more than 25 years of developing cryocoolers. 

Earlier this year, the company announced that the advanced spectrometer instrument for the MethaneSAT flight system will soon enter its critical design phase following the completion of the preliminary design review (PDR).