SPB (Super Pressure Balloon) launch! As our flight to recover BLAST was again cancelled...See more
SPB (Super Pressure Balloon) launch! As our flight to recover BLAST was again cancelled (weather, still), we went into LDB to continue packing. When we arrived, SPB was on the flightline, and the balloon was just about to be removed from the box. Unlike our conventional balloon launch, SPB requires a tow balloon to help right the balloon during the initial stages of inflation. This balloon is inflated first, attached to the top of the real balloon. They start to inflate the real balloon, and once the real balloon has enough buoyancy to keep itself upright, the tow balloon is released. Inflation, and launch of SPB, continue as normal. As the winds were in a favourable direction, Elio and I were able to watch the launch from the safe distance of LDB1. Now, remember the tow balloon. You do remember it, don't you? Shortly after it is released, it deflates and falls to the ground. That is when Elio and I were tasked with retrieving it. On snowmobiles. However, it went particularly far. And we were unsuccessful. Later in the day we tried again (one last time, to satisfy the Antarctic Treaty that we weren't intentionally leaving garbage in Antarctica). Lo and behold, we found it. Just 150 meters beyond where we gave up the first time (and only slightly off course, to the right). Final resting point, 5¼ km from the launch site.