Around the World in 10 Days


A map with Antarctica at the center. A red line forms a circle around the continent showing the flight track of NASA's super pressure balloon.
NASA’s super pressure balloon completed its first mid-latitude circumnavigation at 11:32 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 (U.S. Eastern Time) after just 10 days of flight.

NASA’s football-stadium-sized scientific super pressure balloon crossed the 169.24 east longitude line at about 11:32 p.m. EDT, April 25, officially completing its first mid-latitude circumnavigation after launch April 15 (U.S. Eastern time) from Wānaka Airport, New Zealand.

A global map with a red line showing the starting point of NASA's balloon flight in New Zealand and the balloons current position in the South Pacific Ocean southeast of New Zealand.
NASA’s super pressure balloon has completed its first mid-latitude circumnavigation.

NASA achieved the milestone just 10 days, 3 hours, and 50 minutes after launch. The balloon is maintaining a float altitude around 107,000 feet as it continues its globetrotting journey.

“The balloon is performing exactly the way it was engineered to do, maintaining its shape and flying at a stable altitude despite the heating and cooling of the day-night cycle,” said Debbie Fairbrother, NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program chief. “As we continue to test, validate, and qualify this technology for future flights we’re also performing some cutting-edge science.”

The balloon is flying the Super Pressure Balloon Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) payload, which has already returned brilliant research images from this flight.

Weather permitting, the balloon can be seen from the ground, especially at sunrise and sunset, as it continues on its globetrotting journey. People can track the real-time location of NASA’s super pressure balloon at this website:

Two NASA technicians wearing reflective vests are atop a scissor-lift and reaching over the top of the Extreme Universe Space Observatory-2 payload, which is cubed-shape with a circular lens on one surface.
NASA technicians prepare to perform a compatibility test on the Extreme Universe Space Observatory-2 payload. The team is monitoring weather closely for a launch opportunity. NASA/Bill Rodman

Next up for NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program is another planned super pressure balloon launch from Wānaka to further test the technology while also flying the Extreme Universe Space Observatory 2 (EUSO-2) science mission. EUSO-2, from the University of Chicago, aims to build on data collected during a 2017 mission. EUSO-2 will detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray particles from beyond our galaxy as they penetrate Earth’s atmosphere. The origins of these particles are not well known, so the data collected from EUSO-2 will help solve this science mystery. Planned launch attempts will be announced on this blog.

For more information on NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program, visit: