Antares Launch Coverage
NasaSocial media accreditation participants took a tour of Wallop’s today, including learning about the scientific balloon program. Balloons have been used to conduct scientific studies for decades. Balloons have always offered great flexibility for payload design and weight, as well as reduced mission cost. While the basics of ballooning remain unchanged, balloons have increased in size, allowing for heavier lift capabilities, with greater reliability.
NASA’s scientific balloons are constructed of very thin polyethylene material about the same thickness as an ordinary sandwich wrap. NASA’s largest standard balloon is approximately 40 million cubic feet (1.13 million cubic meters) and reaches an altitude of approximately 130,000 feet (39.6 kilometers). The system includes a balloon, a parachute and a payload that carries instruments necessary to conduct scientific experiments.
On August 26, 2002 set a world record peak altitude of 161,000 feet (49 kilometers), and with a volume of 60 million cubic feet (1.7 million cubic meters), was the largest balloon ever launched successfully.
Wallops shares information about its balloon program at the Balloon Program Office.
The current schedule for the Antares Launch: (All times EDT)
April 15 – 12:30 – 1 p.m.: Registration and check-in; 1 – 4:30 p.m.: Tour & news briefing
April 16 – 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Tours, photo opportunities & news conferences
April 17 – 3 p.m.: Board buses for launch