High Altitude Aerial Platforms for Astronomical Research

A telescope mounted on a lighter-than-air platform (balloon) at an altitude above 60,000 ft would be above all clouds and weather and would offer imaging quality nearly on par with spacecraft like the Hubble Space Telescope. We are part of a group of Caltech and JPL scientists and engineers investigating the possibility of building a high-altitude, long duration vehicle platform for atmospheric and astronomy that would offer a new, much lower-cost access to near-space conditions.