Ballooning isn't exactly rocket science, apparently. A NASA balloon launch in the Australian outback turned calamitous today as a gondola carrying two rather expensive telescopes came loose from its carrier balloon, destroying the astronomical experiments and nearly wiping out a couple of local onlookers.
Video captured at the Alice Springs Balloon Launching Center in northern Australia shows the balloon initiating liftoff just before the gondola drops from its carriage to the ground. But the instruments were still partially tethered to the airborne balloon, which proceeded to drag the research platform through a fence and into a parked SUV, which will be needing some body work, as you can see in the video below.
The balloon barely missed a second parked car containing a local couple who came out to see the launch.
The research platform turned wrecking ball contained the Nuclear Compton Telescope, an instrument for detecting "astrophysical sources of nuclear line emission and gamma-ray polarization." The balloon was supposed to ferry the instruments to about 120,000 feet (roughly 23 miles). The wreckage has been hauled to a hanger, and an initial assessment by officials there found that part of the Compton 'scope is still somewhat intact, though it's unclear if the mission is salvageable at this point.
That sucks, especially with nasas limited budget
I feel bad i really look forward to hearing good things on nasa if you think about it they do such a superb job and never get the credit they really deserve.Im sure that took alot of work to build and assemble that craft and so alot of effort down the draine but like the pheonix nasa shall from its failear. be reborn anew with even more ambition and they will work things out.good look Nasa i know that the presidents cut your budget but i know how important to
future you are.alot of good tech has come from you guys and seeking to go beyond than staying stagnet we need resources and we need a new way of getting them.any of you who decide to dog them know so little of their importance to our prosparity and future.
This isn't the first time this has happened, heck this actually happens quite frequently. They need to figure out what is going on with these launches and fix it stat.
@ SJak: Didn't they attribute it to high winds?
I would think that they would feel compelled to exercise more caution with these valuable instruments, but perhaps it really was just a freak accident. I bet those onlookers feel extremely lucky to have come out of their encounter (with what may be the world's most expensive wrecking ball) virtually unscathed!
Commercial satellite launches done w/ insurance.
So if there is a failure they get their money back.
NASA should do the same.
Sure it would increase the cost but it would guarantee money is not lost. So they would have money to build another one.
"What the HELL Jim? I said on three!?"
"Yeh, 1 - 2 - <b>3</b>"
"NO! 1 - 2 - 3 - <b>GO!</b> Jeeze!"
On a serious note: bugger :(
NASA has a pretty big budget at $19B, but what they lack in common sense, they make up for with stupid recklessness. Good thing they're not in charge of the space station.
NASA has become an overblown, highly expensive, careless and reckless agency supported by taxpayers money, but run like a
secret private entity manged and operated by military types, all warped up in the flag, farting patriotism and living high on the hog and its elite pampered SOBs that do no know the word no. The shuttle program and the international space station are nothing more then a junk yard in the sky with accomplished measuring to the size of peanuts in comparison to the amount of tax payer's money that is used, abused and wasted by these elite types and their life styles.
I am no NASA Scientist but evidently it was too windy for launch!. Probably they were too anxious, yes they are human!
Thanks LUCK , nothing happened!
Guess what, I bet next time they would learn from this and wait for better conditions.
@winemaster2 - I bet my life , you are a clueless Teabagger!
Looking at how the balloon was pulling at a good 40 degree angle relative to vertical before the gondola was released, it should have been a no brainer to imagine what would happen when the crane released the gondola. Nope. This accident boiled down to sheer stupidity by trying to launch in high winds.