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Wim Verstraeten Wim Verstraeten: Belgian professional balloonist
Bertrand Piccard Bertrand Piccard: Grandson of Auguste Piccard, first man to enter the stratosphere (see History of Ballooning)


Château-d'Oex, Switzerland.


Time of Year: (same as other teams) November 1996 to March 1997

Cruising Altitude: 30,000 - 39,000 feet

Speed: The speed of the jet stream, which could average 120 mph or 200 kph.

Detail of Orbiter balloon

The Balloon

Design: De Rozier

Height: 150 feet or 45.7 meters
Capacity: 15,000 cubic meters or 529,650 cubic feet

Fabric: Nylon fabric. An outer aluminum-coated skin regulates the impact of solar radiation.

Detail of capsule

The Capsule

Design: Designed by Donald Cameron. This is a pressurized capsule with a 20 to 80 ratio of liquid oxygen to liquid nitogen. Carbon dioxide exhaled by the crew will be absorbed by lithium dioxide cartridges. The capsule has a pair of seats, a bunk, small toilet, and kitchenette along with numerous communications equipment.

Fuel: Propane
Length: 17 feet
Diameter: 7 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.

Take me to the Orbiter web site.

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