During the Validation of the Aeroclipper System under Convective Occurrences (VASCO) test experiment in January and February 2007, eight Aeroclipper prototypes were launched from Mahe Island in the tropical Indian Ocean. The Aeroclipper is a streamlined balloon maintained in the atmospheric surface layer by a guide rope dragging on the ocean surface. While requiring some design improvements, these prototypes showed good potential for the exploration of the tropical air-sea interface, even under rough cyclonic conditions.

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Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, CNRS, UPMC, ENS, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France

Laboratoire d'Océanographie Expérimentation et Approches Numériques, CNRS, UPMC, IRD, Paris, France

Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse, France.