NSC will create the first commercial balloon base - 2/28/2012
Tillamook, Oregon.- At a cost of 6.9 million dollars in the first phase, Near Space Corporation (NSC) announced yesterday that will start the construction of a new balloon launch facility, which was announced as the first of such installations to be fully commercial. The base will be located in the Port of Tillamook Bay Airport Business Park, near the Pacific coast in Oregon, United States.
According to the press release issued by the company, the site was designed by LRS Architects of Portland, and will include a circular paved area for balloon launches, a observation tower, a building for payload integration, offices for engineering and administration, and a dedicated building for balloon manufacturing. Construction is planned to begin in north hemisphere spring, with plans of NSC moving into the new facility during the fall of 2012.
Below, can be seen an elevated layout of the facility to be built.
Until now, the balloon operations carried out by the company (formerly known as GSSL Inc.) took place from the terrain sourrounding the old blimp hangar (now Air Museum) inside the former Tillamook Auxiliary Naval Air Station. Also they used an open field located in South Side, Hawaii Islands, and other base in Madras, Oregon.
Besides the activity of NSC, the zone on which will be erected the new installation have a long history on ballooning. Back in the 50's the Moby Dick project -an extensive country-wide effort to map the stratospheric currents- and in more recent times several manned balloon projects as the Da Vinci Transamerica and Earthwinds also used it.
Confirmed: RED BULL STRATOS back in track - 2/7/2012
Roswell, New Mexico.- Finally all doubts that arosed in the last months about the continuity of the Red Bull Stratos effort have been cleared with new information published yesterday by UK's Digital News Agency (the firm that manages all the press behind the project) and the reactivation and a major update of their main website. The project carried out by Red Bull is centered in the Austrian extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner who will jump from a capsule hanging from a stratospheric balloon at 120.000 feet, wearing a full pressure suit. The objective of the stunt will be to break the records of fastest freefall, freefall from highest altitude and longest freefall time, all of them set by USAF Col (Ret.) Joe Kittinger during the last jump of the Excelsior project.
Among the details disclosed on this update are the confirmation that the jump will take place in New Mexico and that probably the deadline is August 2012. Althought there is no explicit mention to it, seeing some footage available at the website that shows part of the technical team (including Joe Kittinger) working on the field, we had concluded that the Red Bull goal is to use as launch base the terrains around or inside the Industrial Air Center, located outside Roswell.
As you may remember from our past updates, a failed balloon mission took place there on December 15, 2011. On that opportunity Red Bull declared that they had a technical team on the site, but refused to make additional comments.
Another interesting change is the creation of a Blog inside the project website, which is run by Natasha Stenbock. Probably, this will make a much more smooth flow of information than the once a month press release that we were used to read in the beginning of the project.