Raven Industries Scientific High-Altitude Balloon Breaks Records
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Feb. 6, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Raven Aerostar
(Nasdaq:RAVN)is pleased to announce its involvement with four successful
high-altitude balloon experiments during the current Antarctica summer. For
each program, Raven Aerostar designed and manufactured scientific balloons to
carry equipment to specific altitudes in the Earth's atmosphere. The success
of all four campaigns has been overwhelmingly positive.
The highlight of this summer's Antarctica experiments has been the Super-TIGER
flight, a collaboration between NASA and several major colleges. The balloon
is studying the origin of cosmic rays. The Super-TIGER balloon surpassed the
duration record for a scientific balloon flown from Antarctica, having flown
for 55 days, 1 hour, and 34 minutes aloft. The previous record of 54 days was
also set by a Raven Aerostar balloon during the 2008-09 Antarctica summer.
"High-altitude balloon experiments are something Raven Aerostar has always
done and we are very proud of," Lon Stroschein, Raven Aerostar general
manager, said. "Raven got its start in the 1950s as a balloon manufacturing
company, and we have never forgotten those roots. We are proud of the
resiliency and toughness of our balloons. I think that is why NASA and other
researchers continue to work with us every year on their Antarctica projects."
Since 1994, Raven Aerostar has worked with NASA and a number of partners to
manufacture high-altitude scientific balloons for a wide variety of
experiments during the Antarctica summer. Because it is located in the
Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica experiences summer while the United States is
undergoing winter. The continent combines a high-mountain desert with the
coldest temperatures and harshest winds on the globe, allowing scientists to
take advantage of unique and consistent wind conditions in order to easily
launch and recover balloons. These balloons carry up to 6,000 pounds of
payload and inflate to a size of 40 million cubic feet when they reach their
altitude of 127,000 feet. Contrastingly, typical hot air balloons inflate to a
size of only 90,000 cubic feet.
Antarctica balloon campaigns Raven Aerostar is involved with this summer:
*Barrel – An experiment to study the Earth's radiation belt. A total of 15
balloons have been launched from three sites for an astounding 115 days'
worth of combined flight time.
*BLAST-Pol – Standing for "Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter
Telescope," this project is a telescope array, attached to a balloon,
which is used to study the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies and
clusters. The balloon flew for 16 days, 3 hours, and 17 minutes.
*EBEX – A balloon-borne polarimeter designed to measure the intensity and
polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation, this platform
had a flight time of 25 days, 11 hours, and 39 minutes.
*Super-TIGER – An acronym for Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder,
the project is a collaboration between NASA, California Institute of
Technology, Washington University (St. Louis), Jet Propulsion Lab and the
University of Minnesota.
There are two key reasons scientists want to take advantage of the Polar
Summer for these experiments: consistent wind direction and constant sunlight.
The combination makes it easier to predict the balloon's course and keep it at
the desired altitude. The consistent wind direction allows a balloon to fly at
almost the same latitude throughout its flight. Since the sun does not set in
Antarctica during its summer, the balloons get to fly in constant sunlight,
preventing the significant altitude variations that come anytime a balloon is
exposed to nightfall.
"Flying balloons into the stratosphere is a capability our nation's scientific
community must have to stay on the cutting edge," Stroschein said. "Who knows
what wonders may be born out of these experiments? I'm excited to find out.
Raven Aerostar is committed to its balloon program and perfecting how to fly
them in the stratosphere. This is an affordable technology that has potential
applications in a lot of scientific disciplines, including remote
communications, GPS augmentation and intelligence gathering. The experience
Raven Aerostar has gained through its work with NASA will help us to
continually push the envelope on what is possible with balloons."
About Aerostar International, Inc: Aerostar International, a wholly owned
subsidiary of Raven Industries, is a world leader in the design and
manufacture of highly technical aerospace, surveillance technology and
specialty sewn products. Aerostar and Raven are based in Sioux Falls, SD.
Aerostar's high-altitude scientific balloons have been manufactured at its
dedicated facility in Sulphur Springs, TX for more than 30 years. The company
has a rich history, saving lives through its unique product lines; in addition
to scientific balloons, Aerostar's engineers design and manufacture tethered
aerostats and persistent surveillance solutions, protective wear, parachutes,
marine navigation equipment and specialty electronics. Aerostar is committed
to providing its customers with the innovative solutions that they require and
the answers that they can trust.
About Raven Industries, Inc: Since 1956, Raven Industries has designed and
manufactured high quality, high-value technical products. Raven is publicly
traded on NASDAQ (RAVN) and has earned an international reputation for
innovation, product quality, high performance, and unmatched service. Raven's
purpose is to solve great challenges in areas of study, feeding the world,
energy independence and resource preservation. To realize this purpose, we
utilize our strengths in engineering, manufacturing and technological
innovation to serve the precision agriculture, high performance specialty
films, aerospace, and electronic manufacturing services markets. Visit
www.RavenInd.com for more information.
On the Internet, information is available at: www.ravenaerostar.com
CONTACT: Mike Smith
Aerostar International, Inc.
Ph: 605-331-3500, Fax: 605-331-3520
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