NASA launches Super Pressure Balloon from New Zealand

Apr 26, 2017 17:40 IST

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 25 April 2017 successfully launched its football-stadium-sized and heavy-lift Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) from Wanaka, New Zealand.

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The balloon will float for 100 or more days at 110000 feet (33.5 km) across the globe in the Southern Hemisphere's mid-latitude band. It will observe a broad swath of the Earth’s atmosphere to detect the UV fluorescence from the deep space cosmic rays coming in from above.

Highlights of Super Pressure Balloon
• The Super Pressure Balloon will detect ultra-high energy cosmic particles from beyond the galaxy as they penetrate the earth's atmosphere.
• The International Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon (EUSO-SPB) payload is flying as a mission of opportunity.
• Also flying on the payload is a poppy in commemoration of Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia.   

NASA Super Pressure Balloon

• 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.
• It is expected to circle the planet two or three times.

About Super Pressure Balloon

• The Balloon was developed together by NASA and Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility teams.
• NASA's heavy-lift balloons have been critical launch vehicles for testing and validating new technologies and science instruments to assure mission success for costlier, higher-risk follow-on spaceflight missions.
• NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia manages the scientific balloon flight program with 10 to 15 flights each year from launch sites worldwide.
• Orbital ATK, which operates NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, provides mission planning, engineering services and field operations for NASA’s scientific balloon program.

Quick Digest

Who: Super Pressure Balloon

Where: New Zealand

What: Launched by NASA

When: 25 April 2017

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