NASA’s super pressure balloon flight track. NASA
NASA’s super pressure balloon completed its first mid-latitude circumnavigation at 11:32 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 (U.S. Eastern Time) after just 10 days of flight.
NASA’s football-stadium-sized scientific super pressure balloon crossed the 169.24 east longitude line at about 11:32 p.m. EDT, April 25, officially completing its first mid-latitude circumnavigation after launch April 15 (U.S. Eastern time) from Wānaka Airport, New Zealand.
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NASA achieved the milestone just 10 days, 3 hours, and 50 minutes after launch. The balloon is maintaining a float altitude around 107,000 feet as it continues its globetrotting journey.
“The balloon is performing exactly the way it was engineered to do, maintaining its shape and flying at a stable altitude despite the heating and cooling of the day-night cycle,” said Debbie Fairbrother, NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program chief. “As we continue to test, validate, and qualify this technology for future flights we’re also performing some cutting-edge science.”
The balloon is flying the Super Pressure Balloon Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) payload, which has already returned brilliant research images from this flight.
Weather permitting, the balloon can be seen from the ground, especially at sunrise and sunset, as it continues on its globetrotting journey. People can track the real-time location of NASA’s super pressure balloon at this website: https://www.csbf.nasa.gov/map/balloon10/flight728NT.htm.
Next up for NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program is another planned super pressure balloon launch from Wānaka to further test the technology while also flying the Extreme Universe Space Observatory 2 (EUSO-2) science mission. EUSO-2, from the University of Chicago, aims to build on data collected during a 2017 mission. EUSO-2 will detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray particles from beyond our galaxy as they penetrate Earth’s atmosphere. The origins of these particles are not well known, so the data collected from EUSO-2 will help solve this science mystery. Planned launch attempts will be announced on this blog.
For more information on NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program, visit: www.nasa.gov/scientificballoons.
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