Monday, October 17, 2011

Long Duration Ballooning

One of the NASA groups down here is the LDB people. They work our of Palestine, Texas and Goddard. They have this cam out on the sea ice between us and White and Black islands. They have these large helium balloons which they attack a payload to. They do this so that they can do mission much cheaper than launching a satellite given their constrainsts of being in upper atmosphere and only over the pole vs low in low earth orbit. Being down here is ideal for them since the polar winds around Antarctica lets the balloons fly around in the circle over the continent, allowing the payloads to be retrieved on the ballons bust. they try to land the payloads int he path of the South Pole traversers so that it can be picked up on the way back. These balloons can stay up for weeks at a time because of the winds have a high recovery rate.
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