Launch Date: December 17, 2003
A prototype to the full ANITA experiment, ANITA-LITE, was flown for ~18.5 days onboard a NASA LDB scientific balooon during the 2003 Austral Summer from McMurdo Base, Antarctica. This prototype consisted of two radio antennas and electronics to amplify and digitize the radio signals picked up from the ice. ANITA-LITE gathered valuable information on the radio background that the full ANITA experiment will see in its flight currently scheduled for the 2006 Austral Summer.
ANITA-LITE flew piggyback to another experiment, the Trans-Iron Galactic Elemet Recorder (TIGER) experiment which is an ultra-heavy Galactic Cosmic Ray Detector. Mission operations are conducted by the Columbia Scientific Balloon Foundation (CSBF) a NASA agency which oversees the flying of large scientific balloons around the world.
The TIGER/ANITA-LITE payload was terminated after over 18 days at float altitude. The entire mission and recovery was a great success. During the time in Antarctica one of the scientists, Jason Link, kept an online journal to record the happenings of launch preparation and operations in Antarctica. There are also pictures from Antarctica available.