NASA balloon launch POSTPONED

Image: LIVE - Monday, April 17 ar 5.15am - Wanaka Airport

UPDATE: April 17 NASA Balloon Launch Attempt Postponed Due to Winds


NASA postponed the fifth launch attempt of its super pressure balloon (SPB) from Wanaka, New Zealand, at 7:50 a.m. Monday, April 17 (New Zealand time) due to winds blowing in a direction not conducive for launch.


Wind speed and direction at the surface, lower levels, and in the stratosphere all influence launch day decisions. The wind direction today shifted toward the west, which ultimately led to today's cancelation after hours of waiting for the winds to align. Eastwardly winds at the surface and lower levels are key for launch.


"We took the payload out to the flightline, connected the parachute to the payload, and laid out part of the protective tarp for this attempt," said Gabe Garde, campaign mission manager. "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 will continue to assess the weather daily to determine if conditions will support a launch attempt; NASA will issue its next launch update when weather conditions are supportive of a launch attempt.


Launch Viewing Information


Wanaka Airport officials advise that local residents and visitors will have the best vantage points for the launch from:

  • The Hawea Flat side of the Clutha River
  • Atop Mount Iron
  • On the hill on the Hawea side of the Red Bridge by Kane Rd.

Road Closure Information

SH6 will be closed for up to an hour during the launch.  It will be closed from approximately 100m from the airport gate all the way to Luggate.  

The closure will start once the balloon inflation commences.   Detour via Haweas Flat.

This will be somewhere between 8am and 11.30am on launch day.

Mt Barker Rd & Stevenson Rd will not be closed for the launch this year.


RELATED:  NASA Live Updates | Wanaka Sun (April 2017)

NASA balloon taking flight | Wanaka Sun (March 24, 2016)

Why Wanaka works well for NASA balloons (March 27, 2016)

Flight Complete: NASA balloon sets record | Wanaka Sun (July 3, 2016)

NASA ready for Wanaka take off (March 30, 2017)

The launch can be tracked in the following ways:

• Track the progress of the flight at the following link, which includes a map showing the balloon’s real-time location, at: http://www.csbf.n (

• For mission status updates follow NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility social media accounts: and

Read the Wanaka Sun Online here


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