Supporting the Long Duration Balloon (LDB) Facility is a big part of my job, so when they launch a payload it feels great. Long duration means up to a month, but more typical is 10 to 14 days. This is compared to the hours long balloon launches by weather techs. These balloons can reach an altitude of 120,000' The payloads, full of science stuff, are assembled in one of two large buildings and then attached to the launch vehicle for transport to the launch pad. There are two or three launches every season. Really cool science and some amazing scientists. I talked string theory with one of the guys just like on the TV show Big Bang Theory. Fascinating, too bad I didn't really understand...
The road closure at the 3 km circle of safety.
The payload, the assembly building and the launch vehicle.
Close-up of the payload.
The payload hanging on the launch vehicle.
The balloon being inflated.
A series of images capturing the launch.
The red flag is part of the road closure.
Fly birdie, fly!