Could You Break the Record for an Around-the-World Balloon Flight?
ES1908  A Look at an Around-the-World Balloon Attempt

Around-the-world ballooning is a sophisticated enterprise. It uses specially designed balloons that are nearly ten stories tall, high-tech gondolas for the crew and flight equipment, and numerous experts on the ground at mission control.

The Cable & Wireless balloon launched on its around-the-world attempt from Almeira, Spain on February 17, 1999.

Mike Hewitt/Allsport
Inflating the balloon.
Sukree Sukplang/Reuters 1999
Cable & Wireless balloon over Thailand.
Mike Hewitt/Allsport
A view inside the gondola.
Mike Hewitt/Allsport
Mission control center.

The pilots were forced to ditch the balloon in the ocean near Tokyo, Japan on March 7. They did not complete their goal of circling the globe, but the flight set a world record for duration—17 days, 18 hours, 41 minutes. Two weeks later this record was surpassed by the Breitling Orbiter 3.


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