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NASA’s balloon launch postponed for the sixth time due to high surface winds

NASA-BalloonWellington: NASA has postponed the launch attempt of its super pressure balloon (SPB) for the sixth time due to high surface winds. The balloon was scheduled to launch at 6:45 am on Friday, April 21 (New Zealand time) from Wanaka, New Zealand. The US space agency will make its seventh attempt at launching the balloon.  Gabe Garde, mission manager for the 2017 Wanaka Balloon Campaign, said, “The wind speed was below our limit for a time, but unfortunately picked back up at a speed that would not support a launch today. We were close once again in our processing, but the winds didn’t set up in the end.” The balloon and its science payload was expected to drift north east and begin a 100 day journey around the world. The super pressure balloon is designed to carry a pioneering telescope to detect ultra-high-energy cosmic rays from near space. The purpose of the flight is to test and validate the SPB technology with the goal of long-duration flight at mid-latitudes. In addition, the University of Chicago’s Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon (EUSO-SPB) is a mission of opportunity flying on the 2017 SPB test flight. EUSO-SPB is designed to detect high-energy cosmic rays originating from outside our galaxy as they penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere.

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