He flew from Torrey Pines, San Diego in California to Waverley, Georgia in 73 hours 20mins, a distance of 2074kms. The balloon was gas balloon Abruzzo GROM-1. Reg. N96YD,landing on February 5th 2003. On the weekend of the flight, the equipment was driven to California from Albuquerque by crewmembers Leonard Saiz and Jeremy Dorcas. They also provided the retrieve for the flight. The sandbags were filled and the system was assembled on Saturday. It all finally came together and the balloon was launched exactly at 12:00 noon PST. Continue reading →
Paul Kipfer and August Piccard prepare to enter the stratosphere in a pressurized gondola lifted by a hydrogen filled balloon on May 27th, 1931.1
In 1930, an interest in ballooning, and a curiosity about the upper atmosphere led him to design a spherical, pressurized aluminum gondola that would allow ascent to great altitude without requiring a pressure suit. Supported by the Belgian Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Piccard constructed his gondola.
An important motivation for his research in the upper atmosphere were measurements of cosmic radiation, which were supposed to give experimental evidence for the theories of Albert Einstein, whom Piccard knew from the Solvay conferences and who was a fellow alumnus of ETH.
Auguste Piccard in 1932
On 27 May 1931, Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer took off from Augsburg, Germany, and reached a record altitude of 15,781 m (51,775 ft). (FAI Record File Number 10634) During this flight, Piccard was able to gather substantial data on the upper atmosphere, as well as measure cosmic rays. On 18 August 1932, launched from Dübendorf, Switzerland, Piccard and Max Cosyns made a second record-breaking ascent to 16,201 m (53,153 ft). (FAI Record File Number 6590) He ultimately made a total of twenty-seven balloon flights, setting a final record of 23,000 m (75,459 ft)
August 17, 1859 John Wise flew from Lafayette, Indiana, to Crawfordsville, Indiana, and carried 123 letters and 23 circulars on board that had been collected by the postmaster Thomas Wood and endorsed “PREPAID” but only one of these historic postal covers was discovered in 1957.
Historically, balloons were used to transport mail from Paris during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-72. Sixty-five unguided mail balloons were released in besieged Paris to communicate with the world beyond the besieging forces, of which only two went missing.