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Just as things were looking hopeful - with weather conditions finally ideal and the balloon out of its box - the launch was abandoned due to a technical malfunction.
A problem with a winch meant helium could not get into the balloon.
Upcoming campaigns in Sweden and the United States meant today's attempted launch was the sixth and final attempt in Wanaka.
The weather was still and crisp, with some lingering river fog surrounding the airport, and it was hoped the launch would happen about 11.30am.
A fifth launch attempt scheduled yesterday was cancelled because of unacceptable wind conditions.
Nasa’s balloon programme office chief Debbie Fairbrother said the reason behind the cancellation was that both surface and upper-level winds were above 10 knots.
"A high-pressure system that would have brought the exact wind conditions we needed did not arrive in time for Thursday’s launch attempt," she said.
Nasa first began launching super pressure balloons from Wanaka in 2015. Today would have been the fourth launch.
The programme was temporarily halted due to funding and Covid-19 issues.
The primary goal of the flight was to validate and certify the balloon technology and, in particular, the balloon’s capability to pressurise at high altitudes and cope with heating and cooling during the day-night cycle, Ms Fairbrother said.
- Reporting by Aspen Bruce and Marjorie Cook