Nasa is preparing to launch on Saturday a super-pressure balloon about the size of a football stadium to carry a pioneering telescope designed to detect ultra-high-energy cosmic rays from near space.
The super pressure balloon (SPB) test flight is set to be launched from Wanaka Airport in New Zealand, on a potential 100-day journey.
If weather is conducive for launch, lift-off is scheduled between 8 and 11.30am locally, Nasa said in a statement on Friday.
“At this time, the weather at the ground and lower levels looks very good for a Saturday launch attempt,” said Gabe Garde, mission manager for the 2017 Wanaka Balloon Campaign.
In addition, the University of Chicago’s Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon (EUSO-SPB) is a mission of opportunity flying on the 2017 SPB test flight.
EUSO-SPB is designed to detect high-energy cosmic rays originating from outside our galaxy as they penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere.