In my beautiful balloon...

DN Staff

September 4, 2000

1 Min Read
In my beautiful balloon...

Balloons may be a primitive way of air travel, but they have a firm grounding in scientific research. And while the basics of using balloons for flight haven't changed, the materials, payload size, altitudes, etc., have.

NASA has a scientific balloon program at the Wallops Flight Facility, (Wallops Island, VA) ( The agency generally launches up to 35 balloons a year. Payloads carry a variety of instrumentation to gather information on the atmosphere, the Sun, the near-Earth, and space environment and beyond. In addition, NASA is involved in a new project, the Ultra-Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) to develop new materials and design a standard gondola including power, telemetry/command, and an altitude control system. Flights are scheduled to launch in early 2001 and are planned to stay aloft for 100 days or more with scientific payloads of more than a ton.

Another scientific balloon site worth checking out is Boomerang (www.physics., which is short for Balloon Observations of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysics. The data gathered creates images of the early universe.

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