High altitude balloon
Overview
 
High-altitude balloons are unmanned balloon
Balloon
A balloon is an inflatable flexible bag filled with a gas, such as helium, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, oxygen, or air. Modern balloons can be made from materials such as rubber, latex, polychloroprene, or a nylon fabric, while some early balloons were made of dried animal bladders, such as the pig...

s, usually filled with helium
Helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

 or hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 that are released into the stratosphere
Stratosphere
The stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere, and below the mesosphere. It is stratified in temperature, with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. This is in contrast to the troposphere near the Earth's surface, which is cooler...

, generally reaching between 60000 to 120000 ft (18.3 to 36.6 km).

The most common type of high altitude balloons are weather balloon
Weather balloon
A weather or sounding balloon is a balloon which carries instruments aloft to send back information on atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed by means of a small, expendable measuring device called a radiosonde...

s. Other purposes use as a platform experiments in the upper atmosphere. Modern balloons generally contain electronic equipment such as radio transmitters, camera
Camera
A camera is a device that records and stores images. These images may be still photographs or moving images such as videos or movies. The term camera comes from the camera obscura , an early mechanism for projecting images...

s, or satellite navigation systems, such as GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 receivers.

These balloons are launched into what is termed "near space
Near space
Near space is the region of Earth's atmosphere that lies between 65,000 and 325,000–350,000 feet above sea level, encompassing the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. A more understandable definition would be above where a commercial airliner flies but below the realm of an orbiting...

"—the area of Earth's atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 where there is very little air, but which is not high enough to be in the realm of satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

s.

A seasonal vortex in Antarctica allows balloons to be recovered very close to their launch site, making it a popular location for balloon-based research.

Due to the low cost of GPS and communications equipment, high altitude ballooning is an emerging hobby.
In France during 1783, the first public experiment with hydrogen-filled balloons involved Jacques Charles
Jacques Charles
Jacques Alexandre César Charles was a French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist.Charles and the Robert brothers launched the world's first hydrogen-filled balloon in August 1783, then in December 1783, Charles and his co-pilot Nicolas-Louis Robert ascended to a height of about...

, a French professor of Physics and the Robert brothers
Robert brothers
Les Frères Robert were two French brothers. Anne-Jean Robert , and Nicolas-Louis Robert , The brothers were the engineers who built the world's first hydrogen balloon for professor Jacques Charles; it flew from central Paris on...

, renowned constructors of physics instruments.
Charles provided large quantities of hydrogen, which had only been produced in small quantities previously, by mixing 540 kg of iron and 270 kg of sulfuric acid.
Encyclopedia
High-altitude balloons are unmanned balloon
Balloon
A balloon is an inflatable flexible bag filled with a gas, such as helium, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, oxygen, or air. Modern balloons can be made from materials such as rubber, latex, polychloroprene, or a nylon fabric, while some early balloons were made of dried animal bladders, such as the pig...

s, usually filled with helium
Helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

 or hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 that are released into the stratosphere
Stratosphere
The stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere, and below the mesosphere. It is stratified in temperature, with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. This is in contrast to the troposphere near the Earth's surface, which is cooler...

, generally reaching between 60000 to 120000 ft (18.3 to 36.6 km).

The most common type of high altitude balloons are weather balloon
Weather balloon
A weather or sounding balloon is a balloon which carries instruments aloft to send back information on atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed by means of a small, expendable measuring device called a radiosonde...

s. Other purposes use as a platform experiments in the upper atmosphere. Modern balloons generally contain electronic equipment such as radio transmitters, camera
Camera
A camera is a device that records and stores images. These images may be still photographs or moving images such as videos or movies. The term camera comes from the camera obscura , an early mechanism for projecting images...

s, or satellite navigation systems, such as GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 receivers.

These balloons are launched into what is termed "near space
Near space
Near space is the region of Earth's atmosphere that lies between 65,000 and 325,000–350,000 feet above sea level, encompassing the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. A more understandable definition would be above where a commercial airliner flies but below the realm of an orbiting...

"—the area of Earth's atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 where there is very little air, but which is not high enough to be in the realm of satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

s.

A seasonal vortex in Antarctica allows balloons to be recovered very close to their launch site, making it a popular location for balloon-based research.

Due to the low cost of GPS and communications equipment, high altitude ballooning is an emerging hobby.

The first hydrogen balloon

In France during 1783, the first public experiment with hydrogen-filled balloons involved Jacques Charles
Jacques Charles
Jacques Alexandre César Charles was a French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist.Charles and the Robert brothers launched the world's first hydrogen-filled balloon in August 1783, then in December 1783, Charles and his co-pilot Nicolas-Louis Robert ascended to a height of about...

, a French professor of Physics and the Robert brothers
Robert brothers
Les Frères Robert were two French brothers. Anne-Jean Robert , and Nicolas-Louis Robert , The brothers were the engineers who built the world's first hydrogen balloon for professor Jacques Charles; it flew from central Paris on...

, renowned constructors of physics instruments.
Charles provided large quantities of hydrogen, which had only been produced in small quantities previously, by mixing 540 kg of iron and 270 kg of sulfuric acid. The balloon called Charlière took 5 days to fill and was launched from Champ de Mars in Paris where 300,000 people gathered to watch the spectacle. The balloon was launched and rose through the clouds. The expansion of the gas caused the balloon to tear and descended 45 minutes later 20 km away from Paris.

See also

  • High-altitude airship
    High-altitude airship
    The United States Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency contracted Lockheed Martin to construct a high-altitude airship to enhance its Ballistic Missile Defense System ....

  • Weather balloon
    Weather balloon
    A weather or sounding balloon is a balloon which carries instruments aloft to send back information on atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed by means of a small, expendable measuring device called a radiosonde...

  • Research balloon
    Research balloon
    Research balloons are balloons that are used for scientific research. They are usually unmanned, filled with a lighter-than-air gas like helium, and fly at high altitudes....

  • Flight endurance record
    Flight endurance record
    The flight endurance record is the longest amount of time an aircraft of a particular category spent in flight without landing. It can be a solo event, or multiple people can take turns piloting the aircraft, as long as all pilots remain in the aircraft. The limit initially was the amount of fuel...

  • Manned balloon altitude records
  • Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility
    Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility
    The Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility is a NASA facility responsible for providing launch, tracking and control, airspace coordination, telemetry and command systems, and recovery services for unmanned, high altitude balloons...

  • Amateur Radio High Altitude Balloon Records
    ARHAB
    Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning is the application of analog and digital amateur radio to weather balloons and was the name suggested by Ralph Wallio for this hobby. Often referred to as "The Poorman's Space Program", ARHAB allows amateurs to design functioning models of spacecraft and...

  • Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio
    Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio
    Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio or BEAR is a series of Canadian-based amateur radio high-altitude balloon experiments by a group of Amateur Radio operators and experimenters from Sherwood Park and Edmonton, Alberta....

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK