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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Scientific Ballooning.

Balloon Program Office

Test Flight 586NT - Ft. Sumner Deployment Test Flight, 2 MCF Balloon

  • The goal of this flight was balloon deployment
  • Test flight structure whose design was based on the knowledge gained from the ground testing of the scaled model balloons and provided a reasonable proxy for the later larger flight structures
  • Ft. Sumner Test Flight, June 22, 2008
  • Balloon volume ~56,800 m3 (~2,006,000 ft3), 200 gore
  • Diameter 54.47 m (178.7 ft), Height 33.36 m (109.4 ft)
  • Suspended Load: 295 kg (650 lbs), including ballast (109 kg)
  • Desired Float Altitude: 30.5 km (~100,000 ft, + infinity/ - 5,000 ft)
  • The balloons deployment path very closely followed the deployment paths seen in the ground model testing of the ~27 m diameter balloons
  • Balloon was fully deployed between 50 and 60 Pa
  • Final differential pressure settled in around the predicted level of ~200 Pa
  • Before termination, the ballast was then dropped in several increments until all of it was expended. The balloon reached a maximum differential pressure of ~360 Pa and a final float altitude of ~31.3 km (~102,800 ft)
  • Flight was terminated by command
  • Total flight time was 4 hours and 7 minutes
  • The flight time was limited to trying to perform the test flight within a prescribed test area that had been developed by the NASA Wallops Safety Office. The entire flight adhered to the safety rules.
  • This flight succeeded in both it primary goal of full deployment at float and all of its secondary goals except for a diurnal flight
  • The altitude stability was exceptional, on the order of ~90 m (~300 ft), and the maximum differential pressure measured during this flight was over 360 Pa, a level that represents 1.8 times the design level
  • Spool release of Super Pressure Test flight 586NT
    Spool release of Super Pressure Test flight 586NT


    Altitude profile for Super Pressure Test flight 586NT
    Altitude profile for Super Pressure Test flight 586NT


    586NT just before deployment
    Test flight 586NT balloon just before and just after final full deployment
    586NT after deployment



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