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Launch attempt for NASA balloon postponed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/04/2017

NASA stadium-sized research balloon launch attempt from Central Otago has fallen to the mercy of weather for the sixth time.

High surface winds were not conducive for the launch from Wanaka on Friday morning.

"The wind speed was below our limit for a time, but unfortunately picked back up at a speed that would not support a launch today," said campaign mission manager Gabe Garde.

"We were close once again in our processing, but the winds didn't set up in the end.".

The fifth attempt to launch from Wanaka, on Easter Monday, was also foiled by wind.

The balloon is about the size of Dunedin's Forsyth-Barr Stadium when fully inflated and NASA hopes it'll stay in the air for 100 days.

The current record flight for such balloons is 54 days.

A special launch pad has been built at Wanaka Airport for the launch.

It's the third year NASA has been in Wanaka to launch a balloon. The first balloon in 2015 achieved 32 days of flight, with 46 days notched up in 2016.

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