NASA is targeting Friday, April 21 (Thursday, April 20 in U.S. Eastern Time (EDT)), to conduct a super pressure balloon (SPB) test flight launching from Wānaka Airport, New Zealand, on a potential 100-day journey.
NASA will begin flight preparations in the early morning hours Friday and will continue to evaluate real-time and forecast weather conditions throughout the morning. If weather is conducive for launch, lift-off is scheduled between 8 and 11:30 a.m. locally (between 4 and 7:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, April 20).
This is the sixth scheduled launch attempt for NASA's 2017 Wānaka Balloon Campaign. A fifth attempt April 17 ended due to wind conditions (wind shear) that would not support moving forward with a launch attempt.
Launch Viewing Information
Wānaka Airport officials advise that local residents and visitors will have the best vantage points for the launch from:
- The Hawea Flat side of the Clutha River
- Atop Mount Iron
- On the hill on the Hawea side of the Red Bridge by Kane Rd.
The launch can be tracked in the following ways:
- A live feed of the launch is available here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-csbf-downrange-operations
- Track the progress of the flight at the following link, which includes a map showing the balloon’s real-time location, at: http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/newzealand/wanaka.htm
- For mission status updates follow NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility social media accounts www.facebook.com/NASAWFF www.twitter.com/NASA_Wallops
- For launch updates follow on Wānaka Airport’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/WanakaAirport
- For the live broadcast from Wānaka Airport tune in to Radio Wānaka 92.2 FM
Super Pressure Balloon Facts
- Volume of the balloon when fully inflated: 532,379 cubic meters (18.8 million cubic feet); about the size of a football stadium
- Diameter of the balloon when fully inflated: 114.5 meters (376 feet)
- Height when fully inflated: 68.96 meters (233 feet)
- Altitude at float: 33.5 kilometers (110,000 feet)
- Amount of balloon film used to make the balloon (the film is polyethylene—the same material used in sandwich bags, though our film is much stronger and more durable): 8.9 hectares (22 acres)
- The weight of the balloon combined with the suspended weight (gondola, flight train, and parachute) is: 4,909 kilograms (10,821 pounds); separately, the balloon weighs 2,414 kilograms (5,321 pounds) and the total suspended weight is 2,495 kilograms (5,500 pounds