Purpose of the flight and payload description

The objective of the flight was to perform a qualification mission for the Stratofilm SF-450 37H "Heavy" balloon. Measuring 37 million cubic foot of volume the balloon is designed to transport heavy payloads up to 8.000 pounds. As it was a technological flight, the flight transported no scientific payload. Instead, a specially built gondola knicknamed "thunderbird" was used to carry enough ballast to simulate the heavy payloads the balloon is meant to carry on. Also a full set of cameras and sensors were located in the gondola to study the behaviour of the balloon in flight.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 6/5/2007 at 14:08
Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, Fort Sumner, (NM), US  
Balloon launched by: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven - 36.730.000 cuft (Stratofilm 450)
Flight identification number: 571NT
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 6/5/2007 at 15:30
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 4 h 22 m
Landing site: 41 miles from Fort Sumner, New Mexico, US
Payload weight: 6000 lbs

The balloon was launched by dynamic method with assistance from launch vehicle on June 5th, 2007 at 14:08 utc.

After a nominal ascent phase the balloon started to move due southeast until reach float altitude (122.000 ft) when it changed his route due west, with a slighty southward desviation, as can be seen in the map at left (click to enlarge).

The balloon was terminated after 4 hours and 22 minutes of flight the same day. The separation of the payload occured at 18:30 utc wich landed at 19:10 utc 41 miles southwest of Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

External references

Images of the mission

View of the launch site during the inflation of the balloon Launch! The balloon viewed trough a camera mounted in the gondola. The balloon still is not fully inflated The balloon at float altitude. Fully inflated The parachute a few seconds after being deployed after cutdown

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