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- An improved, lightweight design has been proposed for super-pressure balloons used to carry scientific instruments at high altitudes in the atmosphere of Earth for times as long as 100 days. [A super-pressure balloon is one in which the pressure of the buoyant gas (typically, helium) is kept somewhat above ambient pressure in order to maintain approximately constant density and thereby regulate the altitude.] The proposed design, called "meshed pumpkin," incorporates the basic concept of the pumpkin design, which is so named because of its appearance. The pumpkin design entails less weight than does a spherical design, and the meshed-pumpkin design would reduce weight further. The basic idea of the meshed-pumpkin design is to reinforce the membrane of a pumpkin balloon by attaching a strong, lightweight fabric mesh to its outer surface. The reinforcement would make it possible to reduce the membrane mass to one-third or less of that of the basic pumpkin design while retaining sufficient strength to enable the balloon to remain at approximately constant altitude for months.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20110023865.
NASA Tech Briefs, July 2003; 16.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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