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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Scientific Ballooning.

Balloon Program Office

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Test Flight 616NT - Antarctica 22 Day Duration Test Flight, 14 MCF Balloon

  • The goals of this flight were balloon deployment and flight duration.
  • Balloon was scaled up from the successful 591NT, ~7 MCF, test flight
  • Williams Field near McMurdo Station, Antarctica on January 9, 2011
  • Balloon volume ~422,400 m3 (~14,900,000 ft3), 230 Gores
  • Suspended payload ~1,800 kg (~4,000 lbs)
  • Diameter 106.05 m (~348 ft), Height 65.918 m (~216 ft)
  • Desired Float Altitude: 33.5 km (~110,000 ft, + infinity/ - 5,000 ft)
  • Balloon fully and easily deployed at float
  • Flight flew for over 22 days
  • No gas loss detected
  • Flight could have gone on indifferently, but was ended by command to retrieve high dollar flight hardware
  • All ballast dropped at the end of the flight to pressurize the balloon to the fullest extent possible
  • Sections of the balloon recovered for post flight inspection

    Launch of 616NT
    Launch of 616NT


    Fully deployed 616NT balloon at float
    Fully deployed 616NT balloon at float


    Almost no altitude change at float during the 22 day flight of 616NT
    Almost no altitude change at float during the 22 day flight of 616NT


    Flight path of Super Pressure Test Flight 616NT
    Flight path of Super Pressure Test Flight 616NT


    Recovery of sections of Balloon for Post-Flight Inspection
    Recovery of sections of Balloon for Post-Flight Inspection


    Recovered Piece of 616NT for Post-Flight Inspection
    Recovered piece of 616NT

NASA Code 820

Scientific Balloon Update

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