Title of Presentation: Development of the NASA Ultra-Long Duration Balloon.

Primary (Corresponding) Author: Henry Cathey

Organization of Primary Author: NASA Wallops Flight Center

Co-Authors: David L. Pierce


Abstract: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) “Super-pressure Balloon” is designed to be capable of mid-latitude, long-duration flights at constant altitude even during day-night transitions.  This first totally new balloon design in more than 50 years is commonly referred to as ULDB (Ultra Long Duration Balloon). This paper concentrates on the super-pressure balloon development by the NASA Balloon Program Office at Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility.  The goal of the NASA ULDB development project is to attempt to extend the potential flight durations for large scientific balloon payloads. Areas to be presented include the design approach, deployment issues that have been encountered and the proposed solutions, ground testing, and an analysis overview. Future plans for both ground testing and additional test flights will also be presented.  Goals of the future test flights, which are staged in increments of increasing suspended load and altitude, will be presented.  This will include the projected balloon volumes, payload capabilities, test flight locations, and proposed flight schedule.