Biggest Balloon

September 24, 2002


Provided by: NASA/GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; GSFC Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics

Last month, on August 25, NASA launched a massive scientific balloon from near Lynn Lake in northwestern Manitoba, Canada. The purpose of the balloon mission was to provide an experimental high altitude platform for ultraviolet and x ray astronomy - a springboard for space science. Carrying a solar and heliosphere experiment called Low Energy Electrons (LEE), provided by the University of Delaware, the balloon reached the fringes of space, achieving a peak altitude of 161,000 feet (49 kilometers). With a volume of 60 million cubic feet (1.7 million cubic meters), it was the largest balloon ever launched successfully.

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