NASA targeting April 19 for super pressure balloon launch attempt

SPB Launch Panorama
A panoramic photo of the 2015 super pressure balloon launch from Wanaka, NZ.

NASA is targeting Tuesday, April 19 (Monday, April 18 in Eastern Time), to conduct a super pressure balloon (SPB) test flight launching from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, on a potentially 100-day journey.

Forecast surface and low-level winds are aligned for an early launch attempt; officials are watching trajectory projections closely.

NASA will begin flight preparations in the early morning hours Tuesday and will continue to evaluate real-time and forecast weather conditions throughout the morning. Lift-off is scheduled between 8 and 10 a.m. locally (between 4 and 6 p.m. EDT Monday, April 18).

Launch Viewing Information

Wanaka Airport officials advise that local residents and visitors will have the best vantage points for the launch from:
• The Hawea Flat side of the Clutha River
• Atop Mount Iron
• On the hill on the Hawea side of the Red Bridge by Kane Rd.

The launch can be tracked in the following ways:
• Track the progress of the flight at the following link, which includes a map showing the balloon’s real-time location, at:
• For mission status updates follow NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility social media accounts (#superballoon): and
• For launch updates follow on Wanaka Airport’s Facebook page
• For the live broadcast from Wanaka Airport tune in to Radio Wanaka 97.0 FM

SPB team
The super pressure balloon team discusses launch day actions and procedures during a recent meeting. (NASA/Bill Rodman)