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World's largest balloon to be launched in Australia



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No. 53

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FOR PRESS

bi^4RLD I S LA1 EST BALLOON TO BL LAUINCHIM IN AUSTRALIA

(Statement by the L inister for Supply, Senator Lien Anderson)

A Department of Supply team is scheduled to launch the world's biggest

balloons - with a capacity of 30.7 million cubic feet -- for the Case Western

Reserve University (Cleveland, U.S.A.) and the University of Lelbourne at

Longreach (Cad.) starting this week.

The Linister for Supply, Senator Ken tnzderson, said this in Sydney

today (November 10),

At launch the balloons will be 587 ft. high -- about the size of a

55-storey building.

Senator M derson said. "Two or three flights are planned to search for

further evidence for the existence of a ganm;a-ray star, a source of radiation at

least a.iu ndred times more energetic than has ever been detected before from a

stellar object."

Prof. Glenn Frye, of the Case Western Reserve University, and

Prof. Victor Hopper, of the University of i elbourne Acaden{y Physics

Department) found evidence for such a gamma-ray source as the result of two

balloon flights made from Parkes (N.:. v.) last February.

The source was on the axis of the lilky Way.

Longreaeh has been chosen for the next flights because at that latitude

there is less background interference from cosmic rays.

The flights will also go to a higher altitude (about 30 miles) and

should result in more accurate measurements.

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The payload gondolas, weighing about 7U0 lb. each, contain a special

ganraa-ray detection device which is essentially a riulti-plate spark chamber in

which electron paths are filmed.

Valuable assistance in the flight planning will be given by the

Department of Supply's Weapons Research Establishment (i?rJ) and the Department

of the Interior's Bureau of Xieteorology.

Both will measure wind velocity and direction at altitudes of 20 to

30 idles, just before the balloons are launched from Longreach.

Vrlw will do this by means of a dropsonde (parachute-attached payload)

released by a rocket fired from 'ooniera, as part of WRL" s continuous upper-atmosphere research.

The Bureau of Meteorology will launch balloons in an area ranging

from froni the Antarctic to the tropics in Australia.

If all goes according to plan, the results of the rocket experiments

will be correlated with those of the giant balloons afterwards.

As is the case with all large scientific balloons launched in ^ustralia,

they will be tracked from the air and the ground so that the payload can be

retrieved as soon as possible after it lands.

SYDN E j Tovem.ber 10_._ 1969.