This winter, a Louisville-based team will launch five weather balloons, with the hope that at least one of them will cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The LVL1 White Star Balloon Project would set a record for the longest amateur balloon flight. Team member Grace Simrall says to cross the Atlantic, the balloons must be launched at a precise time to correspond with changes in the polar jet stream.
“We’re looking for very specific forecasting to be able to designate when we fly,” she says. “That said, it looks like we’ll have about five opportunities this winter and we’ll know four to five days in advance.”
The first balloon will launch on December 18th from Spaceport, Indiana.
The balloons will gather data as they fly, and the information will be made available for anyone who wants it.
“By opening that up, we could have people look at gathering better weather information, communications information, look at how we could use this for green technology,” says Simrall.
The data will also be used to plan a balloon flight that goes all the way around the world. That project, however, is reliant on funding. The team is currently accepting donations for future flights.