Atmospheric Physics Research 

at The University of Mississippi


The Photo Gallery
Room 1: Preparation for a Mobile Balloon Launch
Please note:  These images are copyrighted.  They are placed here for your viewing enjoyment.
Contact us if you have some other use planned for them.

 Just scroll down, or you can click on one of the choices in the table to view a photo.

1- The Mobile Lab 

2 - A Wallcloud 

3 - Balloon in Tube

4 - Instrument Preparation 

5 - Starting the Spin 

6 - Ready!



NSSL Mobile Laboratory

National Severe Storms Laboratory's mobile laboratory "NSSL1", circa 1994.
Equipment on the van top includes (from left to right): downward facing electric field mill, air conditioner (for inside the vehicle), flood lights, satellite receiver for time signal, three data receiving antennae, pan/tilt video camera, antenna for LORAN navigation, anemometer for windspeed and direction, and S-shaped probe with shielded temperature and humidity sensors.  Inside the van are the various receiving and communication equipment, as well as seats for five people.

 Wall cloud of a supercell thunderstorm.  Texas, 1994.
This is a typical position for us to launch balloons from when attempting to make updraft soundings in supercells.  Tornadoes can develop beneath the wall cloud, which is at the base of the rotating mesocyclone and updraft of the supercell.

Attaching the parachute

Attaching the parachute to the balloon.  Texas, 1994.
The balloon, inside the yellow protective launch tube, is being anchored by two crew members  (here, Tony Perez and Monte Bateman), while Dave Rust clips a small parachute to the balloon's tail.  The parachute slows the descent of the instruments to the ground after the balloon bursts above the cloud top.  The radiosonde, which will be attached below the parachute, hangs on the white pole (on the left).

Preparing the instrument train

Preparing the instruments.  Texas, 1994.
Tom Marshall, far left, coordinates the arrangement of the instrument train before it is attached to the balloon.  The electric field meter is shown on the right, held by Maribeth Stolzenburg.  On the ground in the center Monte Bateman is preparing an instrument that measures the charge and size of raindrops.

Starting the electric field meter spinning.  Texas, 1994.
The instrument train is attached to the balloon, and the crew is nearly ready.  (Crew members shown, from the right, are Monte Bateman, Tony Perez, Ken Eack, Dave Rust, Maribeth Stolzenburg, and Tom Marshall; Megan Maddox took the photograph.)  The final step in instrument preparation is to start the electric field meter spinning; this is being done by Tom Marshall at the far left of the photo above.

Ready for launch

All ready for balloon launch!  Texas, 1994.
In the last moment before the balloon is launched, the launch director checks the wind and balloon alignment.  The white pole holding the radiosonde will be taken down, and then one of the blue strips (of Velcro) will be pulled to open the launch tube and release the balloon.

Click here to view the rest of the sequence of photos from a balloon launch in Room 2 of the Gallery.

Please note:  These images are copyrighted.  They are placed here for your viewing enjoyment.
Contact us if you have some other use planned for them.
Last update 11 January 2000.  Maribeth Stolzenburg  (
Copyright © 2000 The University of Mississippi. All rights reserved.