NASA Super-Tiger Balloon Shatters Flight Record
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Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
Flying high over Antarctica, a NASA long duration balloon has broken the record for longest flight by a balloon of its size.

The record-breaking balloon, carrying the Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder (Super-TIGER) experiment, has been afloat for 46 days and is on its third orbit around the South Pole.

"This is an outstanding achievement for NASA’s Astrophysics balloon team," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Keeping these huge balloons aloft for such long periods lets us do forefront science that would be difficult to do otherwise."

Super-TIGER is flying a new instrument for measuring the rare heavy elements among the flux of high-energy cosmic rays bombarding the Earth from elsewhere in our Milky Way Galaxy. The information retrieved from this mission will be used to develop an understanding where these energetic atomic nuclei are produced and how they achieve their very high energies.

Super-TIGER launched Dec. 8, 2012, from the long duration balloon site near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The massive 39-million cubic foot scientific balloon carries the 6,000 pound Super-TIGER payload — equivalent to a large sports utility vehicle — at a float altitude of 127,000 feet, more than four times the altitude of most commercial airliners. Size-wise, more than 200 blimps could fit inside the balloon.

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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