The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully launched a super pressure balloon to conduct near-space scientific investigations.
It was launched from South Island Wanaka Airport, New Zealand in the fifth attempt. Earlier four attempts to get the massive balloon airborne were thwarted by bad weather.
Points to remember
The balloon is 532,000 cubic metres and aims to remain airborne for more than 100 days.
It is expected to circumnavigate the globe in the mid-latitudes of southern hemisphere once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere.
Balloon’s operational float altitude is 33.5 kms and it will be visible from the ground, particularly at sunrise and sunset in the southern hemisphere’s mid-latitudes.
Its flight operations throughout the mission will be controlled by NASA’s balloon experts at Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Note: Long-duration balloon flights at constant altitudes play an important role in providing inexpensive access to the near-space environment for science and technology.