World View’s first high altitude balloon test flight with the Stratollite module that lifted off on Thursday ended early due to a leak. From World View’s CEO Jane Poynter:
World View is happy to report the results of its recent Stratollite shakedown cruise in announcing both a successful launch and test of its new Stratollite vehicle, altitude control and steering capabilities. Within the first few hours of flight, all system test objectives were met, including the keystone altitude control capability, solar power generation and successful distribution, high-definition video downlink, and effective steering of the vehicle.
Our special payload passenger, KFC’s Zinger Spicy Chicken Sandwich, performed flawlessly and experienced incredible views from the edge of space. After ~17 hours of flight and control, World View chose to return the Stratollite and Zinger to earth earlier than anticipated due to a small leak in one of the company’s innovative new altitude control balloon systems. That said, we are extremely pleased with the results of the mission. Many of these systems were flown for the very first time and tested together simultaneously. Pending an analysis of large amounts of flight data and key learnings from this mission, World View plans to launch additional Stratollite test missions with increasing flight duration in the near future.
KFC has some fun with the balloon launch: