Advances made as part of the ULDB project have already been used within and beyond the ballooning community.
In all of these areas and more, the design and materials advances issuing from the ULDB program alter the functional ground rules.
A larger balloon is required to meet the ULDB mission goal to fly up to 100 days with 4,500 pounds of suspended load.
The ULDB is a sealed vessel that can withstand the pressure differences between day and night.
In June a prototype of the ULDB successfully flew for 30 hours above Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
According to group leader Robin Mauk, a systems engineer at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, early proposals to the ULDB project include extrasolar planet searches and the first hard X-ray surveys of the entire sky.
Fast, buoyant ULDB craft tend to ride rough, Chance noted.
Running before the wind, Procyon is about as fast as the big ULDBs, also called sleds.