Super balloon flight ready; waiting on weather

Balloon Flightline
The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI) balloon payload is seen on the far right attached to the launcher vehicle during Saturday’s (9 April) super pressure balloon launch attempt from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand. The helium tanks for inflating the 532,000-cubic-meter balloon are seen on the left. (NASA/Bill Rodman)

NASA’s super pressure balloon team remains flight ready in Wanaka, New Zealand, waiting for weather conditions to set up that will support a launch attempt.

The team began working a launch attempt Saturday, April 9, however the winds did not set up in a direction that would facilitate laying out the 250-meter balloon flight train in preparation for launch. High low-level winds Sunday and forecast precipitation Monday further prevented launch attempts. NASA will make a decision Monday whether or not Tuesday’s forecast could support a launch attempt.

COSI payload on the flightline
The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI) balloon payload is rolled out of the hangar in preparation for a launch attempt April 9. (NASA/Bill Rodman)

In the meantime, the team is rested and ready to support a launch attempt once weather improves. “So much work goes into achieving flight readiness status, and I’m proud of the combined team from our Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, the science team, and our local officials on the ground for getting us to this point,” said Debbie Fairbrother, NASA’s Balloon Program Office chief. “The next move belongs to Mother Nature. Once she cooperates, we’ll be working to take to the Wanaka skies once again.”