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McCarthy, Branson, and Lindstrand Rory McCarthy
Richard Branson
Per Lindstrand


Marrakech, Morocco (approximately 31 degrees latitude)


Launch Window: winter '97-'98
Cruising Altitude: up to 40,000 feet
Duration: 2-3 weeks
Outside Air Temperature: -50 degrees C
Speed: up to 120 mph

The Balloon

Virgin Global Challenger II
Type: De Rozier
Height: 170 feet
Diameter: 118 feet
Color: top of balloon is white, cone of balloon is aluminum
Fabric: high-tech aramid fabric

The Capsule

Height: 9 feet
Diameter: 9 feet
Fuel: Propane
Fuel Cylinders: 6 propane tanks, 1 ton each with internal heater to thaw frozen gas


  • Challenger's main communications system transmits via satellites using Inmarsat constellation.
  • Satcom-C transceivers
  • "Mini-M" satellite system
  • Marine and Aircraft VHF/HF radios.
  • 3 satellite GPS receivers
Atmospheric Research

Ozone instruments will be taken along to measure the presence of halocarbons in the atmosphere.

Check out the other global contenders.
Take me to the Virgin Global Challenger web site.

Global Contenders '97/'98 | Expedition '96/'97 | Fossett | Virtual Flight
Science of Ballooning | Teacher's Guide | Resources | Transcript | Balloon Home

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