Super Balloon Takes Flight From New Zealand

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.

Unpacking the balloon
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)
Connecting the parachute
NASA’s balloon technicians attach the super pressure balloon to the parachute during launch operations (NASA/Bill Rodman)
Inflation
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)
Inflation Operations
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 is fully inflated and ready for lift-off. (NASA/Bill Rodman)
Lift-off
NASA’s super pressure balloon lifts-off from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, on its potentially record-breaking flight. (Credit: Jen Andrews)
Float
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)

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