February 4, 2013 - A large NASA science balloon
has broken two flight duration records while
flying over Antarctica carrying an instrument
that detected 50 million cosmic rays.
The Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder
(Super-TIGER) balloon launched at 3:45 p.m. EST,
Dec. 8 from the Long Duration Balloon site near
McMurdo Station. It spent 55 days, 1 hour, and
34 minutes aloft at 127,000 feet, more than four
times the altitude of most commercial airliners,
and was brought down to end the mission on
Friday. Washington University of St. Louis
managed the mission.
On Jan. 24, the Super-TIGER team broke the
record for longest flight by a balloon of its
size, flying for 46 days. The team broke another
record Friday after landing by becoming the
longest flight of any heavy-lift scientific
balloon, including NASA's Long Duration
Balloons. The previous record was set in 2009 by
NASA's Super Pressure Balloon test flight at 54
days, 1 hour, and 29 minutes.