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Artist's concept of the World View balloon capsule in flight (Photo: World View Enterprise...

The newest entry in the fledgling space (or near-space) tourism sector will see passengers take a balloon ride to an altitude of 30 km (18.6 mi) from where they will be treated to a spectacular view of the Earth. World View Enterprises has now obtained US Federal Aviation Administration approval for its proposed balloon experiences, which will cost US$75k, and are projected to begin in 2016.  Read More

Google recently launched Project Loon, which will send internet-enabled balloons into the ...

Almost two-thirds of the world still does not have access to high-speed internet, but Google is determined to change that. Unfortunately, setting up an affordable infrastructure in remote areas is beyond even a huge multinational corporation's capabilities, which is why the company had to devise a completely out-of-the-box solution called Project Loon. As part of the project, Google recently launched a series of internet-enabled balloons into the stratosphere over New Zealand to provide broadband connectivity to rural areas.  Read More

Two Nanoblimps, engaging in aerial warfare in an office

Instead of shelling out for a complete radio-controlled plane, why not just add a powered propeller and steerable rudder to a paper plane of your own? That’s the thinking behind PowerUp Toys’ PowerUp 3.0 kit. Now, Canada’s Plantraco MicroFlight has applied that same sort of thinking to blimps. The resulting Nanoblimp, billed as “the world’s smallest RC blimp,” uses a plain ol’ party-variety helium balloon as its gas envelope.  Read More

The Air Cork is a device that keeps wine fresh by sealing it with a balloon-like bladder

When it comes to resealing an opened bottle of wine, most people either use the cork that the bottle came with, or a hand-pumped vacuum stopper. Now, however, there’s another option – it’s called the Air Cork, although we also kind of like its previous name, the Wine Balloon.  Read More

Felix Baumgartner prepares to skydive from an unofficial altitude of 128,097 feet (39 km) ...

    "Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you are" – Felix Baumgartner, standing outside his capsule at an altitude of 24 miles (39 km) on October 14, 2012.
Well, Felix has gone and done it. Today over the arid countryside near Roswell, New Mexico, the Austrian daredevil successfully accomplished a feat that has been in the works since 2003 – he broke the record for the world’s highest parachute jump, dropping from an unofficial altitude of 128,100 feet (39,045 meters) – about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) higher than expected. In the process, he also became the first skydiver to exceed the speed of sound by reaching an estimated speed of 833.9 mph (1342.8 km/h) while in freefall. That's Mach 1.24 – the first supersonic skydive.  Read More

A batch of PongSats aboard one of JP Aerospace's High Racks

With the increasing availability of things like GPS tracking systems, we’re hearing more and more about regular people using weather balloons to launch items into the sky’s upper reaches - examples have included a video camera, a miniature airplane, and even spacesuit-wearing teddy bears. While such efforts might get you interested in sending something of your own into almost-outer-space, the hassle involved in getting hold of all the necessary equipment could likely keep you from actually doing it. If you can fit your cargo into a ping pong ball, however, the folks at JP Aerospace will send it up for you.  Read More

Felix Baumgartner has successfully carried out a 96,640 foot parachute jump from the Red B...

Skydiver "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner has done it again - successfully carrying out an 18.3 mile (29.5 km) skydive from the Red Bull Stratos balloon high above Roswell, NM. His top speed was 536 mph (865 km/h). At that altitude, the speed of sound is about 673 mph (1083 km/h), so Baumgartner's top speed was Mach 0.80!  Read More

The University of Barcelona's Bernat Codina and Andriy Lyasota study data from the wind-pr...

There’s wind in that thar sky ... That’s the sort of thing that – conceivably – might be wistfully said by someone who is tasked with looking for locations in which to locate wind turbines. Their job could soon be getting a little easier, however, thanks to a new balloon-based wind-prospecting system.  Read More

Felix Baumgartner stares down the barrel of the first test jump in the Red Bull Stratos pr...

Daring Austrian base-jumper and skydiver Felix Baumgartner is aiming to break a record that has stood for almost 52 years. In fact he is aiming to break four long established records, starting with world's highest manned balloon flight (120,000 feet or 36,576 meters) highest skydive (currently 102,000 feet ) and the longest freefall, which may well see him break the sound barrier as he plummets for nearly 23 miles (37 km) towards Earth. Last week Baumgartner jumped from 71,581 feet in the first manned flight test by the Red Bull Stratos project, but to reach its ultimate goal the team must beat Joe Kittinger's record for the highest freefall set in August, 1960.  Read More

NHK's gyro-stabilized balloon camera rig

For those who dream of one day shooting aerial footage without the bulky cranes and cables to hold everything aloft, Japan's NHK may have just the thing: a tethered, balloon-mounted, four-axis gyro-stabilized camera rig that weighs in at about 2 kg and can soar up to 300 meters.  Read More

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