Scientific and Technical Advancement

John Mickey (RAL/AAP). Co-nominees Qian Wu (HAO), Cyndi Bradley (EOL/DFS), Greg Card (HAO), Vince Grow (EOL/DFS), Alice Lecinski (HAO), Chris Mahan (EOL/DFS), Pete Nelson (formerly HAO), Steve Palmer (EOL/DFS), Karl Schwenz (EOL/DFS), Scott Sewell (HAO), Jim Strieby (EOL/DFS), Rich Summers (HAO), Lee Sutherland (HAO), Andy Watt (EOL/RAF), and Bart Woodiel (EOL/DFS)

The HiWind balloon mission produced unprecedented measurements of thermospheric winds that are not observable from the ground during the daytime. This innovative instrumentation, and its implementation on a balloon gondola platform, demonstrated that high-altitude balloon missions can fill a valuable role supplementing ground-based observational networks and expensive space missions that cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than comparable balloon missions. Engineers and scientists in the High Altitude Observatory and the Earth Observing Laboratory collaborated on a complex development effort, culminating in a science flight out of Esrange, near Kiruna, Sweden in June 2011, and recovered near Resolute Bay, Canada. The NCAR team that designed and built the instrument and gondola have enabled breakthrough observations of thermospheric winds and temperatures.