NASA Scientific Balloon Prepares to Make Second South America Crossing

A NASA super pressure balloon carrying the SuperBIT scientific payload is preparing to make its second land crossing over South America. After 12 days in flight, the scientific balloon is on track to reach South America Friday, April 28, at approximately 2 p.m. EDT (Friday, April 28, at 6 p.m. UTC).

A Google Map view of the Pacific Ocean, with Australia on the left and South America on the right. A pin is on New Zealand where the balloon originated from and a red line extends to the right over South America and off the screen, showing the first land crossing. Another red line starts from the left side of the screen, traveling south of the original pin location toward South America, with another red pin just off the coast.
Map of SuperBIT Crossing Pacific Ocean.

The scientific balloon, which lifted off from Wānaka Airport, New Zealand, April 15 (U.S. Eastern Time), made its first land crossing on Thursday, April 20, at 9:30 p.m. EDT (Friday, April 21, at 1:30 a.m. UTC). NASA predicts the balloon will complete a circumnavigation once every week to three weeks.

Before any land overflight occurs, a thorough assessment is made of the balloon’s health and the performance of the command and control electronics onboard. In addition, the forecast trajectory is analyzed from a safety perspective before beginning overflight operations.

The ongoing science balloon flight is monitored real-time from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, and anyone can track the position of the balloon here

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