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  • September 5 2017

    First balloon launch of NASA fall campaign in New Mexico

    Fort Sumner, New Mexico.- The first flight of NASA's Fall balloon launch campaign was performed yesterday, as mission 680N from the Scientific Balloon Flight Facility that the agency maintains inside the boundaries of the Fort Sumner Municipal Airport, in New Mexico.

    The purpose of the flight was to transport a series of experiments as part of the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) program which every year since 2006 include up to twelve student payloads in a stratospheric balloon launched by NASA with flight durations of 15 to 20 hours...

  • August 11 2017

    JAXA closes its balloon launch campaign for this year

    Taiki, Hokkaido, Japan.- The balloon launch campaign started on June 5th by the the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) -part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) since 2003- which was being carried out at the Taiki Aerospace Research Field (TARF) in Hokkaido, has been called off.

    In a press release published by ISAS in their Japanese language website in August 8th, the agency reports that were performed two succesful missions from the four originally planned for the campaign, and one attempt to launch a third one aborted during inflation...

  • August 5 2017

    First images of the BETTII remains after the free-fall accident

    Palestine, Texas.- A few days ago, on the same facebook page where we learned about the unfortunated accident suffered by the Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry (BETTII) past June, were published the first public images of the debris of the instrument after experiencing a free-fall from an altitude of 135.000 ft.

    The images show nothing more than a pile of tubes, electronics, and bend metal parts of the instrument...

  • June 24 2017

    BETTII twin interferometer destroyed in free fall incident over Texas

    Palestine, Texas.- The first balloon mission of the NASA summer balloon launch campaign being carried out from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, located in the outskirts of the city of Palestine, Texas, ended in the worst way.

    Accordingly to an entry published a few hours after by the BETTII team on its facebook page and later by NASA on its website, at the end of the flight, the payload was separated from the balloon following the standard procedure, when due to yet unknown reasons, the instrument separated from the parachute and free fell from an altitude of 135.000 feet, in west Texas...

  • June 8 2017

    NASA summer balloon campaign from Palestine base

    Palestine, Texas.- As long as the weather cooperates, while I'm writing this lines probably would be a rush of activity at the most famous NASA balloon base, the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, located in the outskirts of the city of Palestine, Texas.

    The activity is part of the Summer balloon launch campaign at the base, which in 2016 returned to the launch activity after a hiatus of near 9 years. This year's campaign will involve the launch of three payloads...

  • June 3 2017

    GENETRIX spy balloon program data published in StratoCat

    After a six month work and a search that endured almost 10 years, I'm publishing today in StratoCat for the first time an extensive and comprehensive bulk of information about a secret program carried out by the US Air Force and other agencies to obtain strategic reconnaisance of the Soviet Union and their allies.

    GENETRIX, was a secret program started in 1950 and executed in 1956 by the United States Strategic Air Command (SAC) and other agencies, under the cover of a meteorological and scientific effort. However, the real objective was to obtain photographic reconnaissance of the Soviet Union using high resolution cameras transported by stratospheric balloons riding the jet stream...

  • May 28 2017

    JAXA announced first balloon launch campaign for 2017

    Taiki, Hokkaido, Japan.- A few days ago in their Japanese page, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science -founded by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2003- announced the realization of the first series of stratospheric balloon launches for 2017.

    The campaign will be performed at the Taiki Aerospace Research Field, the dedicated launch facility that the agency have in Hokkaido Island in northern Japan, near the town of Taiki-Cho. According to the brief press release, four missions will be carried out -as long as the weather cooperates- starting on June 5th...

  • May 19 2017

    NASA's Super Pressure Balloon has sunk in the Pacific Ocean

    In this entry I will discuss some facts around the failure of NASA's Super Pressure Balloon, launched as mission 679NT from Wanaka, New Zealand on April 24, 2017, transporting onboard an instrument known as EUSO-SPB (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) with the goal of detect ultra high energy cosmic rays.

    It's been more than a week since the loss of the balloon in the Pacific Ocean and I've expected to have by now enough elements to make a more detailed account of what happened. The reality is that the long silence from NASA that accompanied the development of the mission after launch, has extended this time. Thus, I'm being forced to make a more subjective post than I would like with the little amount of information available. Anyway, I think several interesting elements are worth of analysis....

  • May 2 2017

    Super pressure balloon launched by NASA from Wanaka

    Wanaka, New Zealand.- The third NASA's long duration mission in the southern hemisphere was succesfully started on April 24 when a team from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility performed a flawless launch of the new superpressure balloon that the agency is being developing for scientific use. The launch was carried out from the Wanaka Airport, in Otago, New Zealand, after seven previous unsuccesful attempts.

    Althought the first 36 hrs of flight were carried out without problem, during the second night aloft, a steady decrease of altitude was evident. Taking account that the issue repeated every night, and after the launch NASA remained mostly silent about the mission, this could be an indication that the things are not going as expected...

Upcoming balloon launches around the world

Click on each marker to see the upcoming balloon launch campaigns around the world.