The EBEX Balloon-borne Experiment - Gondola, Attitude Control, and Control Software

Asad Aboobaker, Peter Ade, Derek Araujo, François Aubin, Carlo Baccigalupi, Chaoyun Bao, Daniel Chapman, Joy Didier, Matt Dobbs, Will Grainger, Shaul Hanany, Kyle Helson, Seth Hillbrand, Johannes Hubmayr, Andrew Jaffe, Bradley Johnson, Terry Jones, Jeff Klein, Andrei Korotkov, Adrian LeeLorne Levinson, Michele Limon, Kevin Macdermid, Amber D. Miller, Michael Milligan, Lorenzo Moncelsi, Enzo Pascale, Kate Raach, Britt Reichborn-Kjennerud, Ilan Sagiv, Carole Tucker, Gregory S. Tucker, Benjamin Westbrook, Karl Young, Kyle Zilic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


The E and B Experiment (EBEX) was a long-duration balloon-borne instrument designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. EBEX was the first balloon-borne instrument to implement a kilopixel array of transition edge sensor (TES) bolometric detectors and the first CMB experiment to use the digital version of the frequency domain multiplexing system for readout of the TES array. The scan strategy relied on 40 s peak-to-peak constant-velocity azimuthal scans. We discuss the unique demands on the design and operation of the payload that resulted from these new technologies and the scan strategy. We describe the solutions implemented, including the development of a power system designed to provide a total of at least 2.3 kW, a cooling system to dissipate 590 W consumed by the detectors' readout system, software to manage and handle the data of the kilopixel array, and specialized attitude reconstruction software. We present flight performance data showing faultless management of the TES array, adequate powering and cooling of the readout electronics, and constraint of attitude reconstruction errors such that the spurious B-modes they induced were less than 10% of the CMB B-mode power spectrum with r = 0.05.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2018



  • balloons
  • cosmic background radiation
  • cosmology: observations
  • instrumentation: polarimeters
  • polarization

Cite this

Aboobaker, A., Ade, P., Araujo, D., Aubin, F., Baccigalupi, C., Bao, C., Chapman, D., Didier, J., Dobbs, M., Grainger, W., Hanany, S., Helson, K., Hillbrand, S., Hubmayr, J., Jaffe, A., Johnson, B., Jones, T., Klein, J., Korotkov, A., ... Zilic, K. (2018). The EBEX Balloon-borne Experiment - Gondola, Attitude Control, and Control Software. Astrophysical Journal, Supplement Series, 239(1), [9].