Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


NASA confirms 10-year arrangement for super balloon launches

Joint media release from Wanaka Airport and Queenstown Airport
Monday 13 February

Last year’s CSBF launch happened on May 17 2016 and was airborne for 46 days

NASA confirms ten-year arrangement for super balloon launches at Wanaka Airport

Wanaka Airport Operations Manager Ralph Fegan today welcomed the news that NASA will return to Wanaka in 2017 for its third super pressure balloon launch, scheduled for late March/early April, and will be further committing to the site as one of its global launch bases for up to 10 years.

“We’re delighted that NASA has confirmed a 10-year arrangement to continue launches in Wanaka,” said Ralph. “They’re now familiar faces in our community and it’s great to have them back.”

Queenstown Airport, which manages Wanaka Airport on behalf of owner Queenstown Lakes District Council, has worked closely with NASA to secure the agreement which extends up to 10 years.

The agreement has paved the way for NASA to invest in a longer term base of operations and, subject to required consents and approvals, it will move to land on the north-east side of Wanaka Airport and create a dedicated balloon launch pad.

Queenstown Airport Chief Executive Colin Keel believes the new arrangement is testimony to the confidence NASA has in Wanaka.

“The opportunity for Wanaka to host NASA’s launches successfully in 2015 and 2016 was a real privilege and we’re thrilled that it’s culminated in the team making a long term commitment to invest in the region. The new agreement ensures that NASA will continue to play a significant part in the future of Wanaka’s economy and its vision of bringing benefits to the district by attracting economic investment and innovative businesses.”

In 2015 alone, the project brought significant economic benefits to both Wanaka and New Zealand injecting at least US$1.25 million directly into the regional and national economies.

More than 60 NASA operations specialists, senior managers and scientists have made Wanaka their temporary home over the last two years, with another 35-strong team expected for this year’s launch.

Members of NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) team will begin arriving in Wanaka in February along with scientists from the University of Chicago's Extreme Universe Space Observatory.

“The team brings a little bit of America to Wanaka for a few months of the year and we’ve built solid friendships with them,” said Ralph.

“Every year they’ve immersed themselves fully into Wanaka life, visiting schools and other local groups to educate and inform the community. We’re incredibly lucky to have such a wealth of knowledge and experience benefit our town and we’re grateful to the NASA team and scientists for giving their time to support local groups,” he added.

Regular updates will be posted on Wanaka Airport’s website and on its Facebook page


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


NIWA: Scientists Say Methane Emitted By Humans ‘vastly Underestimated’

NIWA researchers have helped unlock information trapped in ancient air samples from Greenland and Antarctica that shows the amount of methane humans are emitting into the atmosphere from fossil fuels has been vastly underestimated... More>>


SMC Expert Reaction: Record Dry Spells And Effects On Forests

With no rain forecast before Sunday, Auckland is about to break a record for the city's longest dry spell. Niwa says Auckland is likely to hit 40 consecutive days without rain this weekend . The upper North Island is seeing severe meterological ... More>>


Reserve Bank: Official Cash Rate Remains At 1.0 Percent

The Monetary Policy Committee has decided to keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 1.0 percent. Employment is at or slightly above its maximum sustainable level while consumer price inflation is close to the 2 percent mid-point of our target range. ... More>>


Science Media Centre: Novel Coronavirus Detected In China – Expert Reaction

The virus was detected after more than 40 people were hospitalised with pneumonia in Wuhan City, China and the outbreak traced to a large animal and seafood market. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that person-to-person transmission ... More>>


Science Media Centre: Flooding could release toxic gas – Expert Reaction

A chemical substance known as ouvea premix stored at an old paper mill in Mataura could release toxic ammonia gas if it comes in contact with water.More>>