Tucson-based World View Enterprises said it recently launched and landed its stratospheric balloon vehicle from McCall, Idaho, with a NASA research payload that could help scientists map Venus, Mars and other planetary bodies.
During a flight that lasted a few hours Tuesday, the company’s Stratollite vehicle carried an instrument that measures ultra-low frequency radio waves emitted by things like lightning and auroral storms, World View CEO Jane Poynter said.
The ultra-low frequency radio waves can penetrate the Earth’s surface and return, allowing the researcher to more accurately map the planet’s interior for uses such as earthquake prediction, Poynter said in an email update.
Principal investigator Bob Grimm and colleagues at the Southwest Research Institute are developing the technology from high-altitude for future use on other planetary bodies like Venus, Titan, and Mars.
The flight was part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, an initiative to help industry, government or academic researchers to flight-test emerging space technologies.
World View has flown numerous payloads under the NASA program for a wide variety of scientists and researchers, including the flight of an experimental miniature solar observatory in 2016.