Launch Attempt Scheduled for NASA Super Pressure Balloon
NASA is targeting Monday, April 17 (Sunday, April 16 in U.S. Eastern Time (EDT)), to conduct a super pressure balloon
(SPB) test flight launching from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, on a potential 100-day journey.
NASA will begin flight preparations in the early morning hours Monday and will continue to evaluate real-time and
forecast weather conditions throughout the morning. If weather is conducive for launch, lift-off is scheduled between 8
and 11:30 a.m. locally (between 4 and 7:30 p.m. EDT Sunday, April 16).
This is the fifth scheduled launch attempt for NASA's 2017 Wanaka Balloon Campaign. A fourth attempt April 16 ended
early due to poor weather conditions not conducive for a launch attempt.
Launch Viewing Information
Wanaka Airport officials advise that local residents and visitors will have the best vantage points for the launch from:
• The Hawea Flat side of the Clutha River
• Atop Mount Iron
• On the hill on the Hawea side of the Red Bridge by Kane Rd.
The launch can be tracked in the following ways:
• Track the progress of the flight at the following link, which includes a map showing the balloon’s real-time
• For mission status updates follow NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility social media accounts: www.facebook.com/NASAWFF
• For launch updates follow on Wanaka Airport’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/WanakaAirport
• For the live broadcast from Wanaka Airport tune in to Radio Wanaka 92.2 FM
Super Pressure Balloon Facts
• Volume of the balloon when fully inflated: 532,379 cubic meters (18.8 million cubic feet); about the size of a
• Diameter of the balloon when fully inflated: 114.5 meters (376 feet)
• Height when fully inflated: 68.96 meters (233 feet)
• Altitude at float: 33.5 kilometers (110,000 feet)
• Amount of balloon film used to make the balloon (the film is polyethylene—the same material used in sandwich
bags, though our film is much stronger and more durable): 8.9 hectares (22 acres)
• The weight of the balloon combined with the suspended weight (gondola, flight train, and parachute) is: 4,909
kilograms (10,821 pounds); separately, the balloon weighs 2,414 kilograms (5,321 pounds) and the total suspended weight
is 2,495 kilograms (5,500 pounds)