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J. Tueller, R. Mauk (NASA/GSFC), S. Raque (NASA/WFF), M. Heun, K. Nock (Global Aerospace Corp), L. Petro, H. Ford (Johns Hopkins Univ.)
NASA has committed to developing a stratospheric superpressure balloon capable of lifting a 1.5 ton payload to 35000 m for flights of more than 100 days. This pressurized design does not use consumables (ballast) to maintain altitude at sunset. This capability should be especially suitable for hard x-ray and gamma-ray instruments. The first long duration test flight of a full scale system is scheduled for December of this year. This is the first step in the new Olympus program, which will include thorough reevaluation and upgrades of all the support systems to make this a first class NASA launcher capable of supporting missions in all future announcements. The existing NASA LDB capability has already been included in the Explorer Program.
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