Westerly wind thwarts launch

The super pressure balloon will help Nasa conduct near-space scientific investigations. Photo:...
The super pressure balloon will help Nasa conduct near-space scientific investigations. Photo: Mark Price

A westerly wind change has deflated Nasa's hopes for a successful launch of it's super pressure balloon from the Wanaka Airport this morning.

Easterly winds at ground level and a lower level are needed for a successful launch.

It was the closest the agency has come to a successful launch this year with the cancellation coming about 8am this morning.

Mission manager Gabe Garde said preparations were well under way and after hours of waiting for the winds to align the balloon team was ready to launch, but a westerly wind change meant a launch was not feasible.

"We were as close as we've ever been in this campaign for launching, but the wind direction simply wouldn't support taking the next steps of bringing the balloon out and beginning inflation operations.''

Nasa would continue to assess the weather forecast to determine if conditions would support a launch tomorrow. 

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