Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA scientific balloons to return to flight

Date:
December 16, 2010
Source:
NASA
Summary:
NASA's scientific balloon program is resuming flights this month after an extensive evaluation of its safety processes following a mishap during an April launch attempt from Australia. NASA's high-altitude balloons fly instruments for scientific and technological investigations that contribute to our understanding of Earth, the solar system, and the universe.

NASA's scientific balloon program is resuming flights this month after an extensive evaluation of its safety processes following a mishap during an April launch attempt from Australia. NASA's high-altitude balloons fly instruments for scientific and technological investigations that contribute to our understanding of Earth, the solar system, and the universe.

In October, a NASA mishap review board listed 25 causes that contributed to the accident, including insufficient risk analysis, contingency planning, personnel training, government oversight and public safety accommodations. More information on the investigation is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/business/foia/balloon_mishap.html

"NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Facility, and contractor balloon team have done an outstanding job over the past eight months to develop and implement plans to return the balloons to flight," said Jon Morse, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We look forward to once again conducting groundbreaking science with these balloon systems."

To prepare for the resumption of flights, NASA developed a corrective action plan to address the recommendations from the mishap review. To return to flight, NASA has:

  • Developed a more stringent launch safety area in which the balloon launch vehicle can maneuver in order to protect the safety of the public;
  • Revised the safety procedures used to conduct balloon launches;
  • Instituted NASA independent ground and flight safety roles to ensure that balloon launches are conducted safely;
  • Redesigned the launch head mechanism that failed to work properly during the Australia aborted launch;
  • Developed plans to better respond to mishaps and close calls with respect to balloon launch operations.

NASA has approved flights that are scheduled throughout this month over Antarctica. During the Antarctica flights, NASA will use a vehicle that was specifically designed to launch the balloons instead of a commercially obtained mobile crane, which was used during the mishap in Australia. The launch vehicle is built to handle the large, long-duration balloon (LDB) payloads on the compacted snow launch surface. The LDB program in Antarctica is a partnership between NASA and the National Science Foundation, and is carried out through the U.S. Antarctic Program -- a continuous national research presence on the continent since 1956 that is managed by NSF.

NASA's scientific balloons are composed of a lightweight polyethylene film, similar to sandwich wrap. Flying to altitudes of nearly 25 miles, many of the balloons inflate to almost the size of a football stadium and carry payloads weighing up to 6,000 pounds.

NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia manages NASA's scientific balloon program for the Science Mission Directorate. Under NASA safety supervision, launch operations are conducted by the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, which is managed by the Physical Science Laboratory of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

For more information on NASA's scientific balloon program, visit: http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/code820/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "NASA scientific balloons to return to flight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215195649.htm>.
NASA. (2010, December 16). NASA scientific balloons to return to flight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215195649.htm
NASA. "NASA scientific balloons to return to flight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215195649.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins