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Overview of the NASA balloon R&D programThe catastrophic balloon failure during the first half of the 1980's identified the need for a comprehensive and continuing balloon research and development (R&D) commitment by NASA. Technical understanding was lacking in many of the disciplines and processes associated with scientific ballooning. A comprehensive balloon R&D plan was developed in 1986 and implemented in 1987. The objectives were to develop the understanding of balloon system performance, limitations, and failure mechanisms. The program consisted of five major technical areas: structures, performance and analysis, materials, chemistry and processing, and quality control. Research activitites have been conducted at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)-Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), other NASA centers and government facilities, universities, and the balloon manufacturers. Several new and increased capabilities and resources have resulted from this activity. The findings, capabilities, and plan of the balloon R&D program are presented.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Smith, I. Steve, Jr.
(NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA US, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Advances in Space Research
Volume: 14
Issue: 2
ISSN: 0273-1177
Subject Category
Accession Number
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