Monday, December 29, 2008

ULDB Launch!

Yesterday afternoon we did what I came here for. We launched the superpressure balloon prototype. The whole balloon layout and inflation process felt really good. I got in the zone and literally forgot where I was for a while. I focused on the things that I always focus on during these launches. I guess that's what "getting your game face on" is all about. With the exception of small glitches that you always work through on the spot, the launch was absolutely flawless. The CSBF guys always make it look so easy and I know that it isn't. I have such respect for their experience and knowledge in launching these balloons. It's always a privilege to witness it.

Inflation went as smoothly as any ULDB launch I have participated in. The weather was perfect the whole time.

Here is a panorama of the flight train stitched from four separate photos. Too bad those trucks were in the way. Oh well, this is a balloon launch not a photo shoot.

Just after spool release.

Off the pin! Great job Mark!

Almost three hours later, we were fully pressurized and at float altitude. Thanks once again to Dr. Gorham's telescope, I got some really sharp photos of our balloon at float. It just looks proud up there doesn't it?
Now that we're launched, I am doing shifts monitoring the balloon performance, which is "right down the pike". Everything is working out just as we had hoped. I will be here a few more days and will be getting home some time the first week of January.

1 comment:

onceacaddy said...

=D =D =D =D =D =D =D =D =D =D

Can you see my big smile in Antarctica? Congratulations on all of your successful launches! And, yes, the balloon did look inflated and proud to be in the air doing its job! Hope you have a happy new year and safe travel home!