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14 October, 2003

Another Kind of Balloon

We are still waiting for our helicopter flight. A whole week has passed. Operations now are running at only 10 percent of what they should be. A storm just keeps swirling about and every now and then we get hit. The lulls are not long enough to get a flight in.

We are now launching rubber balloons. They look like giant party balloons. We could not use them before because they are brittle when they get cold. So now it is warm, a toasty minus 70C in the stratosphere. At minus 80C we would be in trouble and would have to use plastic balloons. But we made a mistake. Our flight went half way up and burst. It was too cold.

Just a few pictures. The flight in from Christchurch was cancelled again. There are a bunch of Italians that need to get to their base and they will be using the helicopters when they arrive. So we want to get our flight in.

This is a much easier balloon to control and fill with helium. You have to remember that the balloon will expand in flight. When it finally bursts it will be five times larger across.

The morning brings an odd assortment of activity to this town.

Normally we are running around fighting the cold and the wind. But today it is calm, and warm, and you can relax a bit.

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