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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Scientific Ballooning

Balloon Program Office

Super Pressure Balloons

SP During Launch

Extended duration stratospheric flights of large science instruments at mid latitudes is a goal of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Balloon Program Office. Balloon flights near the poles fly in almost constant sunlight. Balloon flying at mid-latitude will experience day night cycles which limit the flight duration of conventional balloons. Super Pressure Balloons offer the promise of extended duration mid-latitude flights. The goal of these flights is to lift a ton of science to greater than 33.5 km (~110,000 ft).

Project Approach

Development of a large pumpkin shaped Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) that will fly at a near constant pressure altitude for extended periods. Float altitude excursions can be reduced by an order of magnitude or more and would not require ballast for altitude stabilization to be flown, even in mid-latitudes compared to the traditional Zero Pressure Balloons. The project approach has focused on incremental steps up in balloon volume and payload carrying capability toward the defined program level requirements.

NASA Code 820

Scientific Balloon Update

Report back for the latest update from NASA's Balloon Program Office.