NASA Cancels First SPB Launch Attempt, Reschedules for May 12

Balloon Gondola
Technicians prepare to take the balloon payload out to the flight line May 11 for a launch attempt. NASA/Bill Rodman

WANAKA, New Zealand – NASA postponed the scheduled launch of its super pressure balloon (SPB) from Wanaka, New Zealand, at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 11, (5 p.m., Tuesday, May 10 in U.S. EDT) due to unacceptable weather conditions for launch operations.

The team stepped through their launch actions taking the payload out to the flight line, laying out the balloon’s protective ground cloth and delivering the balloon to the flight line. Unfortunately, winds at lower-levels (at 250 meters) remained too high, preventing the team from moving forward with launch operations. In addition, a low cloud deck contributed to the decision to cancel for the day.

“I’m really proud of the team’s performance today for this first launch attempt,” said Debbie Fairbrother, NASA’s Balloon Program Office chief. “While the winds and clouds didn’t deliver the specific conditions we needed for launch, the overall attempt provided good practice for the team and we’re looking forward to our next opportunity.”

NASA is planning another launch attempt for Thursday, May 12 (Wednesday, May 11 in U.S. EDT).