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: 7/11/2007
Launch site: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, Palestine, Texas, 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: ABT#20
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 7/11/2007
Landing site: Aborted launch
Payload weight: 6000 lbs

The launch was inteded on July 11, 2007 at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas. The balloon was inflated without problems with 15.000 pounds of helium, but problems arose when it was released upward, the step done prior to releasing the payload to fly: when the balloon came out of the spool, it destroyed itself.

A new test -this time with success- was performed in August that same year during Ft. Sumner fall campaign.

External references

Images of the mission

The balloon being inflated This is the view of the balloon immediatelly after the failure. The collapsed bag covered the launch pad.

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