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The Crew
Steve FossettSteve Fossett. Fossett is the only balloonist who is attempting to go around the world solo—without any other crew. In order to catch some sleep, he will have to depend on sophisticated autopilot controls.


Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri


Time of Year: Launch window from November 15, 1996 through February 28, 1997.

Altitude: Begin at 18,000 feet. After four days establish cruising altitude of 22,000 feet with a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet.

Speed: 50 miles per hour over sea, 35 miles per hour over land.

Fossett balloon being filled in stadium

The Balloon

Design: De Rozier

Height: 150 feet or 45.7 meters
Diameter: 50 feet or 15.2 meters
Capacity: 273,000 cubic feet. (210,000 for helium, 63,000 for hot air)

Fabric: Polyester covered in aluminized mylar.

Fossett Capsule

The Capsule

Design: Designed by Donald Cameron. The SOLO SPIRIT capsule, unlike the other teams' capsules, is unpressurized. Fossett will be high enough that he will have to bring along supplemental oxygen for breathing. The capsule is just one level, with a bunk, toilet, and control center combined.

Fuel: 11 large tanks, and 4 small tanks, all surrounding the capsule. Total is 700 gallons of 69% propane and 31% ethane gas fuel.
Height: 5.8 feet
Diameter: 4 feet
Weight: 1,200 pounds


Inmarsat Standard C: Utilizing standard Global Positioning Satellite Systems, this unit provides real-time tracking of the balloon's exact position and speed. This two-way satellite communications system also enables data transfer and E-mail between the capsule and the ground.

Inmarsat Standard M Satellite Phone: Allows for voice communication between the capsule and the ground.

HF Radio: With an estimated 6,000 mile range, this system has an air traffic control contact over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

VHF Radio: With a range of 200 miles this communications system allows for air-to-air and air-to-ground communication. It also is the means for Air Traffic Control communication in the United States and Europe.

EPIRB: Satellite emergency locator beacon would be activated to begin a search and rescue operation.

Take me to the Fossett web site.

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