Purpose of the flight and payload description

The objective of the flight was to test a new balloon with a volume of 29 million cubic feet developed by Raven Aerostar (Model SF-490) and being qualified by NASA's Balloon Program Office.

The payload was composed by a special gondola nicknamed "Thunderbird", which was developed by CSBF to be used for these kind of technological missions. It can transport a huge amount of ballast to test the balloon at maximum load capacity as well several cameras an sensors to control it's performance during the flight.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 9/28/2011 at 14:25 utc
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  
Flight identification number: 626N
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 9/28/2011 at 19:30 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 4 h 55 m
Landing site: E of Muleshoe, Texas, US

The balloon was launched on September 25, 2011 at 14.25 utc, and terminated over northwestern Texas at 19:30 utc.

Images of the mission

Close view of the balloon inflation (Picture: Ross Hays) Distant view of the balloon almost fully inflated. In the foreground the NASA highbay building in Fort Sumner (Picture: Ross hays) The balloon in the first part of the ascent (Picture: Ross Hays)    

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