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Weather Balloon Kits
The highest recorded gas-filled balloon was launched in 2002 by Japan, reaching 53 km or 173,000 feet. However, this wasn’t a regulation weather balloon. It was designed especially with a material having one-sixth the thickness of a plastic grocery bag. On average, weather balloon flights reach 60,000-105,000 feet.
Usually, the weather balloon is filled on the ground with a lift gas (hydrogen or helium), it can range in size from 2.5 ft. to 8 ft. in diameter. During the flight of a balloon, it will grow up to 83 times the volume and grow more than four times the diameter measured at launch, until it cannot stretch more, after which it bursts.
There are a plethora of variables at play with every flight: How long will it take it to fall? How high will it go? How fast will the balloon ascent? What time of year is it? With atmospheric winds reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h or 200 m/h, we often estimate anywhere from 35-75 miles for summer flights and 35-75 of horizontal travel for winter flights.
On average, a balloon will ascend for approximately 90 minutes before bursting. After it completes the ascent, the flight equipment and the payload boxes will gradually fall on a weather balloon parachute for roughly 30 minutes, offering the average flight a total duration of two hours. This time can differ widely based on how much weight you’re lifting, the amount of lift gas used, and your balloon. It may sound like there are many things to consider here, but don’t worry – TRI Space always works closely with new customers to assist them in navigating this tricky part of the mission plan!
In the US, regulations allow flights carrying up to 5.4 kg or 12 lbs total payload, excluding the weight of the balloon. This weight must be categorized into distinct payload packages no more than 2.7 kg or 6 lbs in weight. Since payloads can experience violent turbulence in the jet stream, TRI Space has designed rugged, lightweight payload packages that not just resist damage but ensure that any equipment used in the flight are safely returned. Usually a weather balloon kit comprises: