US space agency NASA on Monday postponed the launch of its super pressure balloon for the third time because of bad weather condition. NASA’s super pressure balloon will be carrying Extreme Universe Space Observatory that has been made to detect high-energy cosmic rays that enter the Earth's atmosphere.
The speed of the wind was slightly above than what was required for the launch. The NASA team decided to postpone the launch for the day considering the uncertainty for precipitation in the area.
No launch attempt is scheduled for tomorrow, NASA said in a blog post. This was the third schedule attempt by NASA to launch its 2017 Wanaka Balloon Campaign from New Zealand.
Unacceptable stratospheric wind conditions had cancelled the first launch attempt, while the second one was called off due to a mechanical issue with a crane used for launch operations, which has since been resolved.
The flight aims to test and validate the super pressure balloon (SPB) technology with the goal of long-duration flight of over 100 days at mid-latitudes.
The Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon (EUSO-SPB) will be on the test flight.
The EUSO-SPB has been designed with an aim to detect high-energy cosmic rays that originate from outside the galaxy as they penetrate the atmosphere of the Earth.
These high-energy particles interact with nitrogen molecules in the air and create a UV fluorescence light after entering the atmosphere.
EUSO-SPB will be looking downward at a broad swathe of the Earth’s atmosphere to detect the UV fluorescence from these deep space cosmic rays coming in from above. Once launched, the 532,000-cubic-metre balloon will ascend to an operational float altitude of 33.5 kilometres.
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NASA estimates the balloon will circumnavigate the globe about the southern hemisphere’s mid-latitudes once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere.
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(With inputs from PTI)