After making preparations earlier this month NASA has successfully launched a stadium-sized super pressure balloon using helium from Wānaka Airport containing an estimated 19mmcf of helium. The balloon was designed to maintain its internal pressure, keeping it at a constant density altitude regardless of the temperature changes between day and night. It carries a payload of about 2.2 tonnes featuring a Princeton University space telescope which images large galaxy clusters to map dark matter. NASA has previously launched three super pressure balloons from Wānaka, and plans to collaborate on a second launch before the end of May.
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