Scientists Are Using a Balloon to Launch a Telescope - Slate
Jul 26, 2021 57 secs

Cheap solutions like, say, launching a telescope via a stadium-sized high-tech helium balloon instead of a rocket.

This balloon will soon provide telescope imagery to rival (and possibly surpass) that of the Hubble Space Telescope—along with reducing the backlog of imagery requests.

So, this telescope isn’t exactly going to space; it will work at an altitude of roughly 25 miles above the surface, according to a Royal Astronomical Society press release.

Now you may be wondering: How long will this helium balloon stay aloft?

Second, the ability to bring the balloon back to the surface for repairs and upgrades makes this telescope system uniquely flexible.

Given this, the SuperBIT setup isn’t married to one set of hardware forever once launched.

If a telescope aboard SuperBIT becomes obsolete or runs into technical issues, you just bring the balloon back to the surface and put a new telescope on it.

And the team behind this project isn’t just stopping with SuperBIT.

If SuperBIT finds success, it could usher in a new, cost-effective method of launching observational telescopes to meet the needs of astronomers and space scientists around the globe.

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