Welcome to StratoCat, an independent source of historical data and current news on the development of stratospheric balloons for scientific research, aerospace and military applications and commercial explotation of the near space.

Balloon launches by year

Complete list of stratospheric balloon launches by year, ordered chronologically, with flight details, specific payload, images, etc.

Balloon launches by base

Detailed information and launch logs for main balloon launch facilities including balloon bases, airports, and ships around the world.

Detailed flight reports

Ordered chronologically, detailed accounts of many balloon missions containing description of the payloads, details of the flight, pictures, videos and links to external references.


The stories that shaped scientific ballooning. Events and happenings, many of them memorable and epic, some others funny, a few curious or strange and even some tragedies.

Balloon Encyclopedia

Brief overview of those individuals, organizations, programs and events that had contributed to some extent to the development of scientific ballooning.

On this day...

Remembering important events and dates of scientific ballooning history

Weekly Balloon News # 11 - Chinese balloon edition - March 4th, 2023

In this edition:

  • What kind of balloon it was?
  • Not an isolated incident, and not a "fleet" of spy balloons.
  • Previous sightings. Connecting the dots
  • The first downing using missiles? Yes and No
  • The "secret" Chinese balloon base
  • Science on the edge of reality
  • The "weather balloon" explanation 70 years later

Left: The best picture of the Chinese balloon, taken by Frank Melliere above Illinois

Weekly Balloon News is a somewhat regular bulletin containing balloon-related news of what's going on in the field, some speculation (fancy term for "insider data" from sources I can’t reveal), historical images, and details about the new contents that week after week enrich this humble project.

Balloons in flight (updated 19-Mar-2023 - 01:03:56am)

Launched fromIn flight sincePayload or experimentLast known status
 Indiantown (FL)3/2/2023THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 620PROBABLY STILL IN FLIGHT --> Last known position
 Santa Fe County (NM)12/12/2022THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 614The balloon is still in flight as of March 10th, 2023 above the Atlantic Ocean near the Gulf of Guinea

Last completed balloon flights (updated 19-Mar-2023 - 01:03:56am)

Launch baseDateExperimentFlight duration
 Hurley (SD)2023/3/15THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6212 d 15 h 15 m
 TIFR Hyderabad2023/2/17FPS100 - INFRARED TELESCOPE---
 Raven campus, Baltic (SD)2023/2/10THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6191 d 21 h
 Raven campus, Baltic (SD)2023/2/7THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6182 d 16 h
 Santa Fe County (NM)2023/2/1THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6173 d 11 h 49 m
 Santa Fe County (NM)2023/1/31THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6162 d 8 h 49 m
 McMurdo2022/12/21SPIDER (Suborbital Polarimeter for Inflation Dust and the Epoch of Reionization)16 d 7 h
 Spaceport Tucson (AZ)2022/12/2TEST FLIGHT1 h 57 m
 Paso Robles (CA)2022/11/3THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 61317 h
 Paso Robles (CA)2022/10/27THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 61229 h
 Raven campus, Baltic (SD)2022/10/20THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 61149 h
 Raven campus, Baltic (SD)2022/10/18THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6095 d 5 h
 Raven campus, Baltic (SD)2022/10/18THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 61010 d
 Madras Muni. (OR)2022/10/12PAYLOAD UNKNOWN2 h
 Madras Muni. (OR)2022/10/7PAYLOAD UNKNOWN---
 Dachaidan2022/10/4SOLAR CORONAGRAPH---
 Dachaidan2022/10/2SOLAR CELL CALIBRATION2 h
 Dachaidan2022/9/30HEAVY PAYLOAD TEST2 h 24 m
 Raven campus, Baltic (SD)2022/9/28THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 608~ 8 d
 Dachaidan2022/9/28MULTI-INSTRUMENTAL PLATFORM12 h 38 m
 Fort Sumner (NM)2022/9/28PICTURE-C (Planetary Imaging Concept Testbed Using a Recoverable Experiment - Coronagraph)19 h 20 m
 Fort Sumner (NM)2022/9/22TINMAN (ThermalIzed Neutron MeAsuremeNt experiment)7 h 30 m
 Santa Fe County (NM)2022/9/10THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6071 h
 Fort Sumner (NM)2022/9/8HASP 2022 (High Altitude Student Platform)21 h 7 m
 ESRANGE2022/9/7HEMERA ZPB202211 h 30 m
 Fort Sumner (NM)2022/9/7BALBOA (BALloon-Based Observations for sunlit Aurora)8 h 45 m