Daily Weather Assessments for 2017 Wanaka Balloon Campaign
NASA Begins Daily Weather Assessments for 2017 Wanaka Balloon Campaign
The launch window for NASA's next super pressure balloon (SPB) launch from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, opens Saturday, March 25, however, the opening day does not present a launch opportunity due to forecast weather.
Forecast winds are variable at times and otherwise not aligned in a direction that will support a launch opportunity. Winds need to be light and flowing in a reliably easterly direction to support a launch attempt.
"Given all the variables we work with, the least of all being Mother Nature, seeing favorable launch conditions on the first day of a campaign's launch window is uncommon for our operations," said Gabe Garde, NASA mission manager for this year's flight campaign. "As with previous campaigns, our team will assess weather daily to determine if the conditions are right to support a launch attempt."
In addition to unfavorable weather preventing launch, NASA continues to work necessary overflight clearances for countries that could potentially be along the balloon's flight path as it travels around the world in the southern hemisphere's mid-latitudes.
In the meantime, the NASA team is engaged in a number of outreach events in the local area. Nearly 250 people attended a "Locals Day" Open House event at the Wanaka Airport March 23 to learn more about the super pressure balloon and the Extreme Universe Space Observatory-SPB science payload flying as a mission of opportunity on this year's mission.
For more information about the EUSO mission, see: http://astroserve.mines.edu/euso_spb/2017-spb.html.
For more information about NASA's scientific balloon program, see: