Research News

AIR Lofts Heavy Payload Balloon into Near-space Height

Oct 26, 2022

A high-altitude scientific balloon containing 1.2-ton payloads was lifted into the sky and reached an altitude of 30km in a demonstration test that helped validate the payload capacity of a near-space balloon platform.

The flight test was conducted in northwestern China's Qinghai Province on September 30, 2022 by a research team from the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), marking a great step in the development of China's high-altitude balloon platform.

Delivering payloads from the ground to the stratospheric region known as "near-space", the balloon platform can carry tons of scientific instruments, especially large-sized ones such as unmanned air vehicles over aerial-based launches.

During this test, the uninflated length of the balloon reached over 100 m. When fully inflated, the balloon reached the size of 180,000 cubic meters. Despite its big size, the ballooning was well controlled, and its gondola returned to the ground soundly.

The test is funded by the CAS Strategic Priority Program "scientific experiment system in near space", also known as "Honghu" Project.

The balloon launch vehicle and gondola in the preparatory step. (Image by AIR)

The balloon is inflated. (Image by AIR)

The balloon is ascending into the sky. (Image by AIR)