South Dakota company explains high altitude balloon over Hastings
Carrying wildfire detection tech
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - A high-altitude research balloon could be seen over Hastings Friday morning. It was a research balloon carrying new technology to help fight wildfires.
Friday morning, the balloon was located just north of Hastings and had reached an altitude of nearly 13 miles. Adams County Emergency Manager Ron Pughes said the balloon was registered and was not a threat.
The balloon was launched by Aerostar of Sioux Falls, SD, which is a company that uses long-term stratospheric balloons for a variety of purposes. On its website the company says it specializes in “stratospheric platforms utilized for surveillance, reconnaissance and telecommunications functions.”
Aerostar Communications Manager Anastasia Quanbeck said this balloon is one of the company’s Thunderhead series. This flight was carrying three NASA technologies prepared by Orion Labs as well as labs at Texas A&M and Cal Poly Pomona. Quanbeck said the technologies were designed to improve detection of wildfires and aerosol plumes on the earth’s surface.
Quanbeck said this balloon was launched Wednesday from an Aerostar Facility near Hurley, SD. She said this would be a relatively short mission of three days. Other balloon flights can last weeks or months depending on the mission.
The Flight Radar app indicated that the balloon had traveled over David City, Seward, Geneva, Edgar and Hastings.
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