Purpose of the flight and payload description

The objective of the flight was to perform a qualification mission for the Stratofilm SF-450 37H "Heavy" balloon. Measuring 37 million cubic foot of volume the balloon is designed to transport heavy payloads up to 8.000 pounds. As it was a technological flight, the flight transported no scientific payload. Instead, a specially built gondola knicknamed "thunderbird" was used to carry enough ballast to simulate the heavy payloads the balloon is meant to carry on. Also a full set of cameras and sensors were located in the gondola to study the behaviour of the balloon in flight.

Details of the balloon flight

Balloon launched on: 5/3/2004 at 15:21 utc
Launch site: Scientific Flight Balloon Facility, Fort Sumner, (NM), US  
Balloon launched by: National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven - 36.730.000 cuft (Stratofilm 450)
Balloon serial number: W36.73-3H-01 - 36.73-3H-01 (0.8 / 0.95 / 0.95) - SF3-36.73-.8/.95/.95/.95-NHR
Flight identification number: 528NT
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 5/3/2004 at 19:53 utc
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 5 h 22 m
Landing site: 78 miles W of Roswell, New Mexico, US

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