StratoCat is an independent source of historical data and current news on the development of stratospheric balloons for scientific research, aerospace and military applications, and commercial exploitation of 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 every month important events and dates of scientific ballooning history

In this edition:

  • GUSTO telescope finally lands in Antarctica
  • First balloon missions of the year by World View
  • Aerostar: NSC acquisition and Thunderhead flights
  • Chinese balloons back in the news, this time for real
  • In brief: SuperBIT, Iwaya, NASA Flight Opportunities, SCopEX, Balomania

World 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.

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


  • 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

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Balloons in flight (updated 22-Jul-2024 - 06:49:55pm)

Launched fromIn flight sincePayload or experimentLast known status
  Santa Fe County (NM)3/28/2024THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 676STILL IN FLIGHT >>>> Follow the flight in real-time
  Indiantown County (FL)4/22/2024THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 684STILL IN FLIGHT >>>> Follow the flight in real-time
  Avon Park (FL)6/22/2024THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 641STILL IN FLIGHT >>>> Follow the flight in real-time
  Cross City (FL)6/25/2024THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 642STILL IN FLIGHT >>>> Follow the flight in real-time
  Cross City (FL)6/26/2024THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 643STILL IN FLIGHT >>>> Follow the flight in real-time
  Cross City (FL)6/27/2024THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 645STILL IN FLIGHT >>>> Follow the flight in real-time

Last completed balloon flights (updated 22-Jul-2024 - 06:49:55pm)

Launch baseDateExperimentFlight duration
 Taiki2024/7/4RERA #4 (Rubber balloon Experiment for Reentry capsule with thin-type Aeroshell)~ 2 h
 Hurley (SD)2024/7/16THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6972 d 3 h
 ESRANGE2024/7/13BIG60 + BOOMS3 d 2 h
 ESRANGE2024/7/10SUNRISE III6 d 15 h
 ESRANGE2024/7/9XL-CALIBUR5 d 20 h
 Roswell (NM)2024/6/3SCEYE- STRATOSPHERIC AIRSHIP17 h 20 m
 Cross City (FL)2024/6/25THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6444 d 14 h
 ESRANGE2024/5/28HELIX (High Energy Light Isotope eXperiment)6 d 8 h 27 m
 ESRANGE2024/6/22TRANSAT3 d 19 h
 Hurley (SD)2024/6/7THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 68813 d 11 h
 Santa Cruz County (CA)2024/6/19PAYLOAD UNKNOWN8 h 40 m
 Hurley (SD)2024/5/1THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 68546 h
 Spaceport Tucson (AZ)2024/5/22OUTPOST PARAGLIDER TEST2 h
 Santa Fe County (NM)2024/1/27THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 673111 d
 Hurley (SD)2024/5/14THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 68628 h
 Spaceport Tucson (AZ)2024/5/10STRATOLLITE - AETHER 2R63 h
 Hurley (SD)2024/4/5THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 681~ 3 d
 Hurley (SD)2024/4/4THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6828 h
 Santa Fe County (NM)2024/4/30THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6834 h
 Santa Cruz County (CA)2024/4/30PAYLOAD UNKNOWN1 h 40 m
 Hurley (SD)2024/4/12THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 67928 h
 Silver Springs (NV)2024/2/27THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6786 d
 Silver Springs (NV)2024/2/27THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT N251TH6 d
 Santa Fe County (NM)2024/3/29THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 68028 h
 Spaceport Tucson (AZ)2024/3/27SIRAD 15 h
 Spaceport Tucson (AZ)2024/3/9STRATOLLITE2 d 7 h
 McMurdo2023/12/31GUSTO (Galactic / Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory)57 d
 Spaceport Tucson (AZ)2024/2/23MANTIS-14 h 20 m
 Hurley (SD)2024/2/21THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 67529 h
 Hurley (SD)2023/10/23THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 66195 d
 Santa Fe County (NM)2024/1/25THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6743 h 20 m
 Hurley (SD)2024/1/20THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6727 h
 McMurdo2024/1/10AESOP-Lite + ANIHALA46 h
 Fort Sumner (NM)2023/9/7HASP 2023 (High Altitude Student Platform)13 h
 Tillamook (OR)2023/9/6PAYLOAD UNKNOWN5 h
 Fort Sumner (NM)2023/9/27JPL REMOTE15 h
 Fort Sumner (NM)2023/9/25FIREBALL (Faint Intergalactic-medium Redshifted Emission Balloon)11 h
 ESRANGE2023/9/24BEXUS 32 (Balloon EXperiments for University Students)3 h 31 m
 ESRANGE2023/9/21BEXUS 33 (Balloon EXperiments for University Students)---
 Hurley (SD)2023/9/12THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6602 d 9 h
 Hurley (SD)2023/9/8THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6595 d 4 h
 Inyokern (CA)2023/8/28THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6574 d
 Timmins (ON)2023/8/8COMICS7 h 45 m
 Dagget (CA)2023/8/5THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 65055 m
 Hurley (SD)2023/8/1THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 879TH3 d
 Inyokern (CA)2023/8/28THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6563 d 7 h
 Inyokern (CA)2023/8/28THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6543 d 5 h
 Inyokern (CA)2023/8/28THUNDERHEAD FLIGHT 6552 d 6 h
 Hurley (SD)2023/8/30SOLD (Stratospheric Optical Link Demonstration)7 h 30 m