NASA’s super pressure balloon took flight from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, at 7:35 p.m. Monday, May 16 (in EDT), on a flight aiming for long-duration at mid-latitudes. Video and pictures from the launch operation follow.
NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon team unpacks the super pressure balloon from its shipping container in preparation for flight. The red material is a protective covering over the balloon and is removed before flight. (NASA/Bill Rodman)
NASA’s balloon technicians attach the super pressure balloon to the parachute during launch operations (NASA/Bill Rodman)
Inflation of the 18.8 million-cubic-foot super pressure balloon commences. A tow balloon, which helps lift the super pressure balloon during inflation operations, is the balloon at top. (NASA/Bill Rodman)
Alec Beange works inflation operations of the super pressure balloon. (NASA/Bill Rodman)
NASA’s super pressure balloon is fully inflated and ready for lift-off. (NASA/Bill Rodman)
NASA’s super pressure balloon lifts-off from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, on its potentially record-breaking flight. (Credit: Jen Andrews)
The fully-inflated, pumpkin-shaped super pressure balloon as seen from the ground. The balloon will maintain a near constant float altitude of 110,000 feet during its mission. (NASA/Bill Rodman)