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Lift off! NASA balloon finally gets airborne in Wanaka

Up, up and away.

NASA's super pressure scientific balloon has launched from Wanaka Airport in the South Island.

Underneath the balloon is a payload of scientific equipment that weighs just over 1,000 kilograms and includes tracking equipment, communications and scientific instruments.

The balloon will eventually inflate to 532,000 cubic metres and NASA hopes its flight will last up to 100 days at mid-latitudes.

The space agency is now talking about becoming a more permanent resident in the area. Source: 1 NEWS

Four previous inflation attempts were called off.

This is the second stage of NASA's high altitude scientific balloon project after a successful test launch from Wanaka on March 27 last year confirmed the site as one of the space agency's global sites for launching unmanned scientific research balloons.

FACTS:

Will fly at an altitude of 33.5 kilometres (110,000 feet)

Is made of 9.8 hectares of polyethylene film

May break the world record of 54 days for Super Pressure Balloon flight – NASA is hoping for at least 100 days.
 

The scientific balloon will begin conducting experiments once it reaches 34km above the ground. Source: 1 NEWS


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