NASA's Scientific Balloon Begins Journey Around Earth

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| May 19 , 2016 , 19:26 IST
NASA baloonTo conduct near-space scientific investigations, NASA recently launched a super pressure balloon from Wanaka Airport in New Zealand. As the balloon travels around the Earth, it may be visible from the ground, particularly at sunrise and sunset, to those who live in the southern hemisphere's mid-latitudes, such as Argentina and South Africa, NASA said in a statement. The successful launch of the scientific balloon on Tuesday was the fifth launch attempt for the team. Previous attempts were scrubbed due to weather conditions not conducive for launch. The purpose of the flight is to test and validate the super pressure balloon technology with the goal of long duration flight at mid-latitudes, NASA said. The team expects the balloon to be airborne for more than 100 days. The current record for a NASA super pressure balloon flight is 54 days The science and engineering communities have identified long duration balloon flights at constant altitudes as playing an important role in providing inexpensive access to the near-space environment for science and technology. "The balloon is pressurised, healthy, and well on its way for this important test mission,” said Debbie Fairbrother, NASA's balloon program office chief. NASA estimates the balloon will circumnavigate the globe about the southern hemisphere's mid-latitudes once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere.

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