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125 comments

In more important news... (5, Funny)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14119979)

...American Balloon-flying tycoons complained in a unified march against the outsourcing of their jobs. Economic experts in the U.S. administration believe these important jobs can be secured with a tariff on hot air, something the administration isn't lacking and wishes to utilize to the fullest for the betterment of the U.S. population.

bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120432)

he didn't go higher than joe kittinger or malcolm ross

Is he any relation to (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14119987)

That Indian math guy [slashdot.org] covered previously on Slashdot?

Re:Is he any relation to (1)

kaarigar (663458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120033)

No, not really. But it appears that he is in good business relations with George Bush, as some section of the press has reported that Bush exported quite a lot of hot air from Whitehouse, and Iraq which was produced by heated discussions and war, respectively. But then I guess he should have landed on the moon - judging by Bush's skill in generating quality hot air.

Re:Is he any relation to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120043)

But "The Moon" is a ridiculous liberal myth.

This just in... (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120005)

Professor William Waterman Sherman has returned home [wikipedia.org] after less than a month of traveling around the world in a hot air balloon. For reasons yet to be explained, the Professor returned, not with his original balloon house, but on a broken but otherwise magnificently built wooden platform held up by no less than twenty-one hydrogen balloons. He himself will reveal the complete, long-awaited story tonight at the meeting of the Western American Explorer's Club in San Francisco... ( Read More... [wikipedia.org] )

And Now.... The rest of the story (4, Funny)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120009)

The pilot relied upon his Pakistani friends to shoot at the balloons to aid in his descent.

What is it about having a gajillion dollars... (0, Offtopic)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120013)

that makes people want to get in balloons?

Re:What is it about having a gajillion dollars... (2, Insightful)

garglblaster (459708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120023)

good question..

so what would _YOU_ do if you had a gajillion dollars?
Buy a Porsche..?

I'd bet he already has a few of those..

Re:What is it about having a gajillion dollars... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120234)

Two chicks at once, man.

Re:What is it about having a gajillion dollars... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120275)

Na, that is if you had a million. If you had a billion you would need to do 200 chicks at the same time.

Do the math right (1)

hasrat (898178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120731)

1 million => 2 chicks
1 billion or 1000 million => 2 * 1000 = 2000 chicks!!
Unless the chicks you get are non-uniformly priced, in which case you may get a bulk discount and even more.
This is of course a slashdotter's dream.

I think Jimmy James can answer that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120026)

I don't have any funny quote, I just wanted to bring up the "Balloon" episode of Newsradio where he faked his trip around the world.

not another one (5, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120020)

Indian Balloon Tycoon?

These sequels to Railroad Tycoon are getting stranger and stranger.

Re:not another one (4, Funny)

Apotekaren (904220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120057)

What next? North Korean Malnutrition Tycoon?
Ok, that's just horrible. I'm a horrible person.

That's very interesting, but... (1)

SlashThat (859697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120021)

how is this Science?

Re:That's very interesting, but... (1)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120047)

Bouyancy [Force] is proportional to the mass * g of fluid [atmosphere] displaced. Archimedes' principle.

"Hi supernintendo Chalmers. I'm learnding." - Ralph Wiggum

Re:That's very interesting, but... (1)

SlashThat (859697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120069)

That's not what the story is about. It's about a record baloon flight.

Re:That's very interesting, but... (1)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120115)

I read the story. That's what I thought about. The mechanics, thermodynamics and logistics of high altitude balloon flight are interesting to me...maybe I'm the only one.

"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you can hear me, save me superman!"

Re:That's very interesting, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120141)

Those measurements in meters look very scientific to me.

and at the same time ... (-1, Troll)

linumax (910946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120055)

in his neighbor country Pakistan, quake victims struggle to survive [thestar.com]
Yeah, He's spending his money the best way!

Re:and at the same time ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120096)

Well, India and Pakistan not the best of friends - having suffered through a nasty partition in 1947, followed by wars in 1965 and 1971 - in which India helped Bangladesh become a separate country. Over the years, India has alleged Pakistani involvement in terrorism specially in the beautiful hilly state of Kashmir which is still a sore point of contention between the two countries. The most recent armed conflict was in 1999 when the Indians pushed out armed insurgents back into Pakistan.
All that said, I believe that most of the conflict is fuelled by the politians in both countries who instigate the people for their own benifit. No matter what the political state of affairs People like me on the ground would just like to code in Bangalore and not worry about it at all. Anyways, Pakistani dry fruits are still better than the ones we get here.

Re:and at the same time ... (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120110)

Same goes for the Pakistani chics man. They are much hotter than the average Indian chic.

India and Pakistan (0, Troll)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120105)

walk into a bar.

IND: We are holding world record for highest balloon pilot now.

PAK: Not you are!

IND: Yes we are. You are still third world country now.

PAK: We will still bomb you with our A-Bomb! You will be glowing ashes, while we will remain the center of human culture.

IND: You will not, you can not do any of that. You are third world country who eats the flesh of animals.

PAK: And you are stupid balloon flyers who answer the phone for your American bosses!

IND: And you are terrorists who eat dead cows! All your base are belong to us, now!

PAK: All you have are balloons to fly. That won't get you a visa to go to your American homeland!

[bouncers with blue helmets arrive, and the conversation continues as it has for centuries]

Re:India and Pakistan (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120459)

I wouldn't rate this as a troll, but for sure the ethnic conflicts that are oh-so-important to people in one part of the world seem trivial to those of another. The enmity between India and Pakistan is bit hard to grasp for an American like me: likewise the bald racism between blacks and whites (and yes, it goes both ways) that has been a part of American culture since our Civil War seems generally perceived as silly by some Europeans I've spoken to.

But when you get right down to it, racism, bigotry ... all those things are artifacts of our similarities, points of tangency, more than our differences. It's easy to fear that which is truly different, much harder to hate it.

Re:and at the same time ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120133)

Why don't you spend all your disposable income on people who need it? That includes getting rid of your computer and internet access, because those things cost money that could be used for other people. In fact, sell off all of your possessions and live in a small, unfurnished apartment. After all, that money can be used to help other people.

Or you could be a normal person and spend your money as you see fit. If you think people should be forced to spend their money for causes you like, become a politician and raise taxes.

Re:and at the same time ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120149)

Are you American or British? Using the same logic - those countries are spending billions on an ill-defined war in Iraq when that money could be used to feed the entire planet. On and individual basis, did you need to spend as much on your toys this year?

Re:and at the same time ... (1)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120281)

ill-defined war in Iraq

Maybe Saddam was the only one that could not understand the definition. Everyone else took the notion quite seriously.

Re:and at the same time ... (3, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120340)

You're probably an American.

Well, aren't there people in your country who are billionaires? People who have far more money than they could possibly spend? Well, there are also people who live in abject poverty too.

Tell me, how is that any different?

P.S. The earthquake affected parts of India too.

Re:and at the same time ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120483)

If you had bothered to actually read any of his previous posts before you jumping to your asinine, knee-jerk conclusions, you would have discovered that he claims to be from Iran. [slashdot.org]

Re:and at the same time ... (2, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120509)

My point is still valid. Pick any country and you will find people who are shockingly rich and those who are shockingly poor.

Short of forced redistribution of wealth on a massive scale that puts us all on a level playing field, that's always going to be the case, so why make a big deal about this particular case?

Re:and at the same time ... (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120688)

You're probably an American. Well, aren't there people in your country who are billionaires?

No, we Americans have zero billionaires. I think that pretty much refutes your entire point quite nicely, doesn't it? Yes, hm, well maybe you should stick to the facts, sir, and leave all these crazy hypothetical angles where they belong - in the hearts and minds of naive little children who still dare to dream of a world where America has billionaires.

Oh look, you were modded "Insightful". You're probably a European. Well, aren't there shoes in your country? I'm sure some people have lots of shoes. And we all know that you can't judge a person until you walk a mile in his shoes - unaccredited anecdotes are the ace of trump in the suite of proof in this game of debates. Therefore who are you to judge these mythical, fantasy beings (who don't really exist) called American billionaires? You haven't even worn all the shoes in Europe, let alone make-believe sandals of fictional American billionaires. I rest my case! I SAY GOOD DAY SIR.

Re:and at the same time ... (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120840)

You need help.

Re:and at the same time ... (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14121287)

From your other response on the same topic:

My point is still valid. Pick any country and you will find people who are shockingly rich and those who are shockingly poor.

My point, made through satire, is that this is the most uninteresting sentiment I've seen moderated as "Insightful" in a long, long time. And as far as Slashdot moderation goes, that's saying a hell of a lot.

I need help, you say. Hm. You're the guy who's posting a whole string of thoughtful comments to point out that some people are rich and some people are poor. WOAH. It just hit me. YOU'RE RIGHT. Man, forgive me. The sheer brilliance of this new, unprecedented concept has just made its impression felt. I totally retract all my satire and sarcasm. You, sir, deserve a drink on the house.

what about the katrina victims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120068)

Why doesnt he fly them some food and water?

Re:what about the katrina victims? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120089)

Because Vijaypat Singhania doesn't care about black people.

Live Videos of the flight (5, Informative)

parryFromIndia (687708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120085)

The project was called Mission Impossible 70K (MI70K) and there are some live videos detailing his flight (Flash required) on this site - http://www.mi70k.com/video.htm [mi70k.com]. The site also carries information about Mr. Singhania and his some other records.

Aren't Singhania's one of the richest families? (4, Insightful)

nsasch (827844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120087)

"This goes to show to the world that we are not bullock cart drivers, but we can compete against the best of the world." Aren't Singhania's one of the richest families in India? Money can do anything.

Re:Aren't Singhania's one of the richest families? (0)

versiondub (694793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120257)

Money can do anything, except provide a liquid mean of exchange and also a value to be held as capital. But then again, this whole comment is a sort of economics-troll. Back to whatever the hell we were talking about before...

Re:Aren't Singhania's one of the richest families? (0, Troll)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14121253)

This goes to show to the world that we are not bullock cart drivers

And he does this by going to 70,000 feet in the aeronautical equivalent of a bullock cart?

rj

Mission Impossible 70k (3, Informative)

vivekg (795441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120090)

Watch Singhania's attempt the world record breaking feat-Live! For latest updates here [mi70k.com] including record update.

A semi-related question (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120124)

I spent several nights googling, and couldn't come up with anything definitive. How long can a balloon stay aloft? I don't care about whether it uses hot air, hydrogen, whatever. I'd like to make a balloon that would hold about 5-10 pounds (well, more than that, including the tether), put it on three long tethers, and let it fly as long as possible. The duration it can stay up is important, because I can't go check on it often (I live too far away). I want to loft an anemometer and record wind speeds to assess the viability of erecting wind generators. The good generators are really big, and really tall. And really expensive - a million dollars give or take per turbine. Obtaining financing will require the most reliable energy estimates I can muster. Wind speed can vary significantly with elevation, so I want to make measurements quite high, and a balloon seems like it might be a cheap way to do it. I want to collect data for an entire year, because seasonal fluctuations will significantly impact the viability of such a project. I could relaunch a few times, but if it's a daily event, that becomes problematic.

If you have any expertise in balloons, post an email address, and I will contact you.

Re:A semi-related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120214)


> If you have any expertise in balloons, post an email address, and I will contact you.

And also subscribe you to porn websites - the duration you can stay up is important too!

Re:A semi-related question (4, Interesting)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120399)

Sending a weather balloon up in the sky is one of my dreams too. I'm not an expert -yet ;) - but I'll give you the things I found out already.. Mistakes may be plentiful, so if anyone can point them out they are free to do so.

A weather balloon will continue to rise until it pops. Helium is lighter than air no matter the altitude, so ignoring the helium loss and the extra pressure inside the balloon due to the tension of the balloon itself, there is no point of equilibrium. I think you can theoretically create such a point, but it would rise so slowly that it would be unpractical.

So I was thinking to send one up that is already at/near equilibrium at ground level, aided by a second "booster" balloon to get it up in the air fast. The second balloon would either have to pop sooner than the first one, or else it would have to be cut off by the payload at a certain height. This can be done with a glow wire wound around a nylon tether, eg. After that, the fligt duration will be mainly limited by helium seeping out of the baloon, and I have no idea how long it can last.

I'm thinking to put a simple QRP (=low power) HAM transmitter on board, together with a few simple sensors (pressure and temperature readings). Recovery is unlikely, so a GPRS receiver is way to expensive IMO.

I don't know much about the legal aspects, but I doubt some nation will spend mega$$$ to shoot down a 25$ (?) balloon payload if it happens to drift into their territory. And even if they do, I won't care much (unless if they try to send me the bill - but I plan to include Bill Gates' address on the probe just for that reason 8-) ).

A. Coward: Wind speed can vary significantly with elevation, so I want to make measurements quite high

This is the part that has got me puzzled. You want to measure wind speeds high up in the air to assess possible wind turbine placings (you're a bored millionaire or what?), even though you realize ground level wind speed and high altitude wind speeds are unrelated?!? I really don't get it. Also, anemometers won't work, because the balloon is drifting along with the wind, so measured wind speed will be close to zero, even though the balloon can be moving at 100km/h. What you need to measure is the position of the balloon over time, and from that data you can deduce the wind speed.

Also note that wind turbines are placed based on avg. *long term* wind speeds, not on ad hoc measurements from a single balloon. You'll have to make measurements for multiple years.

So, based on all those arguments, I think your idea is majorly flawed, or else I've misunderstood you. Sorry in either case ;-)

Re:A semi-related question (3, Interesting)

fatboy (6851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120506)

I have done a weather balloon project myself [groovin.net]. Sounds like what you wish to do is a zero pressure balloon [eoss.org]. You will need to read FAR-101 for regulations regarding free unmanned balloons. [risingup.com]

My friend Bill Brown (WB8ELK) has flown more than 200 balloons and has had great success of long term flights with balloons that simply have a pinholes poked in them. One he launched in Alabama a few years ago flew all night and was last heard off the coast of Nova Scotia [tapr.org].

Re:A semi-related question (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120660)

Whoohoo! Jackpot! All the info I was looking for in one post! I can't thank you enough! I'd kiss you if it weren't for the fact that a) you live too far away, and b) I don't kiss guys ;)

It's a semi-long-term project, I'm still studying to get my HAM licence, but you really increased my motivation to get it real soon now! Ballooning seems like a fun way to get people together, young and old, both from the local HAM-club and the astronomy club (another hobby of mine).

73's, :)

ON????

Re:A semi-related question (1)

hasrat (898178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120695)

Good luck on breaking the record. A feel sad for the old man, but it's a dog eat dog world out there.

Re:A semi-related question (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120869)

I don't have any OM ambitions for the moment, besides the OM is also my father (that's getting way to freudian for my likings:-) ). I never got my license before because I had way too many hobbies already, and I didn't have a compelling reason to get a license. But my interests in robotics led me to ballooning, and a HAM license makes sense if you want to gather telemetry from a probe. Besides, I find the current trend of declining participation in hobby clubs disturbing, and things like these can potentially renew the interest of young people (and increase the co-operation between different hobbies, see before). Bottom line, I believe that projects like these can help in countering the decline.

Of course, the worst case scenario is that HAM's and amateur astronomers can't stand each other, leading to a civil war. But that's only the pessimist in me talking (yeah, I know, he's good :-) ).

Re:A semi-related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14121361)

Thanks. The Federal Aviation Regulations link is good info. For tethered balloons, nothing "less than 500 feet from the base of any cloud" and "more than 500 feet above the surface of the earth". Plus lighting required as for any other hight structure between sunset and sunrise. That's mostly o.k., but for the cloud part. Fog or low atmosphere would be difficult to deal with. I was thinking embedded linux box for recording measurements, maybe it could do double duty, but the cloud bit is a complication that I hadn't anticipated.

Re:A semi-related question (1)

HAMgeek (908543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120602)

anemometers won't work, because the balloon is drifting along with the wind, so measured wind speed will be close to zero

I think he's wanting to do a tethered balloon. With anemometers at different spots on the tether. At first glance I see one major problem with this idea. The tether will pull the balloon downward as the wind pushes the balloon horizontally until the horizontal force of the wind and the lift of the balloon equalize. That might make it a little difficult use the balloon to simulate a tower to get accurate wind speed measurements at a specific height as the balloon will rise and fall in an inverse relationship with wind speed. The faster the wind the lower a tethered balloon will fly. Plus he mentioned wanting to be able to leave it unattended for extended periods of time. Not a good idea and quite possibly a violation of pertinent safety regulations. If it's not a violation it should be.

You mentioned using a QRP rig as the payload for the balloon. The current president of our local radio club is into such things. Montgomery Amateur Radio Club [w4ap.org] He has a project called S.O.B. (Stratosphere Or Bust)where they send up balloons with ham radio payloads. Google "Stratosphere or bust" [google.com]

Re:A semi-related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120703)

three tethers. tornadoes or other weather anomalies might be a problem. otherwise balloon stays in fixed position, as long as it's buoyant. i think i said three tethers. i think i'm looking in the wrong place for good information. yes, anemometer height would have to be correlated with measurements. didn't think this was all so complicated. the "getting a balloon to float for a long time" bit is complicated, though.

Re:A semi-related question (1)

HAMgeek (908543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120953)

D'OH! my bad... The three tethers part just blew in thru one eye and out the other, not sticking around long enough to embed itself into my memory. Three tethers would work as far as dealing with the wind shifting, but wouldn't make any difference as far as wind causing the balloons elevation to vary. If the wind gets strong enough to overcome the balloons lift the balloon would simply lie on the ground as far down wind as the tether system allows.

Re:A semi-related question (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14121006)

Three tethers, so what? Just imagine wind coming from one side, it will push the balloon away and the thether(s) in front will try to prevent it. /. isn't the best place to make a drawing, but if you plot the force vectors yourself you'll see that the balloon is pushed down, the thethers in front will go more horizontally, and the thethers behind will loose tension.

The triangle is only stable if it has a solid frame, that you can compress an pull alike. Some tethers won't do it. You could argue that you can increase the lift of the balloon, thereby increasing the wind speed at wich the balloon will leave it's position, and in theory you are correct, but by doing so you'll also increase the balloon's size, hence it's drag, and basically you'll just nullify the effect. So you'll need an aerodynamic shape and have to make extra engineering efforts to position the -by then - zeppelin correctly facing the wind.

I don't say it cannot be done - you can probably even use a single tether and use GPS measurements of the balloon as an indication of wind speed if you are willing to drop the requirement about wind speeds at different heights, but I'm afraid you're not talking about a hobby project, but about a commercial undertaking with quite some investment capital and research.

Re:A semi-related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14121264)

you're not talking about a hobby project, but about a commercial undertaking with quite some investment capital and research.

Yes I am. Tethers only working in tension, not compression, I understand. My main question, which no-one has been able to answer, was about the longevity of balloon lift, not elementary structural dynamics. If you have any insight, that would be interesting.

Most balloon research that I've found has to do w/ augmenting NASA's satellite system with super high altitude mylar super balloons. Even then, it's not clear to me that you can count on these things staying up for any amount of time. I'd love to be proven wrong, because it would be an elegant solution to a difficult problem (obtaining accurate wind speed data at significant altitude without building a very expensive structure).

Re:A semi-related question (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14121416)

I only know of a record-setting balloon flight on Antartica, I found it back here [nasa.gov], but possibly we're talking about the same mission. I know that gas seeping is a problem, helium molecules being that small, and 100 days is already a lot. If you need longer duration, refilling seems to be your only option. Maybe you can replace/add a tether with a light-weight tube that refills it from the ground. The good news is that getting helium up is not a big problem :-). But I'm not that sure that it solves the cost problem.

Re:A semi-related question (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120736)

Indeed, the post makes much more sense if he intends to use three tethers fixed to the ground instead of three tethers fixed to the balloon 8-). My mental model was completely wrong.

Simply by using common sense, won't tethered balloons have to follow the same regulations as pylons? As long as you stay below the maximum height, there shouldn't be any problem, if you want to go higher, you need to get a permit.

And thanks for the links, I'm learning a lot today :). (the previous reply is very interesting too)

What's the point? (1, Insightful)

tji (74570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120148)

Is there some value that I'm missing in this? Why does any care that some rich guy made a balloon to take him up 60K ft? Is there some practical application that he is trying to improve this technology for? Or, is he just trying to pump his own ego?

Why does this get reported everywhere / anywhere?

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120270)

I don't know. What's the point of plugging in 1000 Linux computers together? What's the point of lighting in PC's? What's the point of MySQL? What's the point of the iPod? This, at least, was a scientific/engineering achievement.

Re:What's the point? (1, Informative)

Mignon (34109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120453)

What's the point of plugging in 1000 Linux computers together?
Cost-effective way to solve some highly-parallelizable computing problems.

What's the point of MySQL?
Open-source, easy to use database. Well integrated with PHP for web applications.

What's the point of the iPod?
Attractive, easy-to-use, portable music player. Integrates well with ITMS.

What's the point of lighting in PC's?
I'm still trying to figure this one out.

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

JamesD_UK (721413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120282)

Why does someone always come up with this argument? I think it's very much possible that he's doing it because he's passionate about ballooning and may get some enjoyment out of setting a record. In the same way that people climb mountains, cycle around the world or collect belly button fluff [feargod.net] there doesn't need to be a practical application or technology to be improved behind every human endeavour.

Re:What's the point? (4, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120699)


This argument usually comes from people who aren't passionate about anything. It must be exhausting to sit at home every day laughing at and criticizing other people who are out there living life.

Indian space programme (0, Troll)

TrueKonrads (580974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120160)

So this is how India is going to fly to space: 1) Launch a tycoon into high altitude 2) He can't get down, send US/European spaceships with Indian astronauts on them to the rescue!

perspecive... (4, Informative)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120241)

The 67-year-old took off from Mumbai, India in a 48m(160ft) balloon and flew to a height of 21,290m (69,852ft [= 13.22 miles]) breaking the earlier record of 19,811m(64,997ft [=12.31 miles]).
A very good source for some perspective is this Wikipedia page on atmospheric heights [wikipedia.org]. Note that the troposphere (illustrated nicely with Mt. Everest just jutting into it, an airplane flying in this layer) only extends up to 17 km (at the equator, lowers as you near the poles - the figure at the right in the Wikipedia page is in miles though, so be careful) -- this guy flew well above that (21 km).

So this guy is in the stratosphere, where we see only weather balloons illustrated. The layer above (mesosphere, from about 50 km on) is practically space, it's apparently where meteors burn up. So I guess this guy reached the high stratosphere - for comparison check out that Mount Everest [wikipedia.org] is at 8.84 km elevation!

It's no wonder, then, that from the article (which I actually read, just for you) :
He travelled in a pressurised cabin attached to a balloon as high as a 22-storey building.
This "pressurized cabin" is just mentioned once more, in this "quick facts" table:

BALLOON FACTS AND FIGURES.
  • Current record: 64,997ft (19,811m)
  • Target altitude: 70,000ft (21,336m)
  • Balloon capacity: 1.6m cu ft
  • Total height: 160ft (48.8m)
  • Gross weight: 1,820kg (1.8 tons)
  • Pilot flies in 560kg sealed aluminium capsule approx 2.7m x 1.4m (9ft x 4ft 6in)
  • Fitted with 18 burners, three fuel tanks, sat-phone; camera; two VHF radios; GPS; life-support system; safety-release system and parachute
    Ascent: 3 hours
  • Descent: 1.5-2 hours

whoops, sorry, there's once more mention of this enclosure, here are a couple of more paragraphs quoted for you, the appropriate text in bold):
Mr Singhania's craft comprised a pressurised aluminium capsule with a specially designed multi-coloured balloon and 18 burners.

The balloon was connected to a parachute that would have been released automatically in case of any emergency.

A helicopter carrying a technical team followed the balloon closely and was in constant touch with Mr Singhania throughout the flight.

And what the hell, there's so little I didn't reproduce, you might as well have a mirror. (Although I find only the following other fact interesting: "During the ascent, air temperatures plummeted to around -93C (-135F)." And maybe a quote from his wife Asha telling of her relief and joy at the success of the trip: "When I heard that he had broken the record, I became numb in mind and heart". I'm sure there's a funny to be made about that.)

CAREFUL, THERE IS NOTHING ELSE INTERESTING BELOW!!


ARTICLE TEXT (with markup)

-------------
INDIAN SETS BALLOON FLIGHT RECORD

Mr Singhania's 160ft high balloon took off from a site near Mumbai
Indian Vijaypat Singhania has claimed a new world record for the highest flight in a hot air balloon, after a voyage lasting several hours.


The 67-year-old textile tycoon soared past 21,000 metres (69,000 feet) but fell just short of his original target.

He travelled in a pressurised cabin attached to a balloon as high as a 22-storey building.

The previous record of 19,811 metres (64,997 feet) was set by Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas, in June 1988.

Mr Singhania's son, Gautam, announced the news to the waiting media.

He said: "As you can see we are very happy. The team is also excited because they have worked very hard on this project for a very long time."

Colin Prescott, leader of Mr Singhania's British technical team, said the official height was 21,290.89 metres (69,852 feet), subject to certification.

High hopes

A band played and hundreds of people watched as Mr Singhania's 48-metre (160 ft) balloon took off from Mumbai (Bombay) at 0645 (0115 GMT), the BBC's Monica Chadha reported from the city.

Management student Parag Sharma arrived at the venue at 0515 because he was so excited about seeing a hot air balloon for the first time.

"I had never seen one before so I thought this was a good opportunity. It is awesome, the balloon was gigantic," he said.

[omit table already quoted: BALLOON FACTS AND FIGURES ]

National television carried live coverage of the voyage, which ended with Mr Singhania's safe return to Earth some five hours later.

During the ascent, air temperatures plummeted to around -93C (-135F).

His wife Asha told of her relief and joy at the success of the trip: "When I heard that he had broken the record, I became numb in mind and heart," she said.

Mr Singhania's craft comprised a pressurised aluminium capsule with a specially designed multi-coloured balloon and 18 burners.

The balloon was connected to a parachute that would have been released automatically in case of any emergency.

A helicopter carrying a technical team followed the balloon closely and was in constant touch with Mr Singhania throughout the flight.

'Passion and obsession'

Colin Prescott explained that the team had "decided to quit while ... ahead" once they had crossed a height of 69,000 feet.

"He [Vijpayat Singhania] wanted to go to 70 but what's a thousand feet?

"It's easily a new world record, so we are all very excited."

Before taking off Mr Singhania, who chairs Indian textile giant Raymond Group, told the BBC that flying was in his blood.

"I thought let us do something important in life, therefore I went about preparing for this world record."

Asked what motivated him to set new records, he said flying was "a want, a passion and an obsession" for him.

"The father of Indian aviation, JRD Tata used to say, 'You don't have to be crazy to get in to aviation, but it helps'... you could say the same for me," he said.

Mr Singhania is the only Indian to have won the aviation sports gold medal from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) that ratifies aviation records, for a 24-day world air race covering 34,000km in 1994.

Re:perspecive... (1)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120523)

BALLOON FACTS AND FIGURES.
  1. Balloons are floating.
  2. Balloons pop ALL the time.
  3. The purpose of the balloon is to pop and kill people.

Later that day (0, Troll)

pardasaniman (585320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120245)

Later that day,Vijaypat confessed that it was not a balloon, but rather he was having a picnic, and the mumbai (Bombay) fumes/pollution/cow dung odour had lifted his picnic-blanket off the ground and into the sky.

Re:Later that day (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120551)

Moderated "Offtopic"?? Surely you've never been to Mumbai. Actually, once they become wealthy enough to stop polluting the sea around Mumbai, it will be an INCREDIBLY beautiful city, with miles of (what will be)pristine beaches surrounding it.
-russ

Record? What about Joe Kittinger? (1)

vfrex (866606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120322)

http://home.att.net/~1.elliott/JOEKITTINGER.HTML [att.net] "On August 16, 1960, Captain Joe Kittinger jumped from a huge helium balloon at a height of 102,800 feet, almost 20 miles above the earth! Captain Kittinger fell for a full 4 minutes, 36 seconds." http://www.thatvideosite.com/view/1164.html [thatvideosite.com]

Helium != Hot Air (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120742)

As such.

Rubbish (0)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120374)

No way did that balloon get that high on hot air - absolute claptrap from the slashdot submitter - even the article says it was helium that raised the balloon.

Psssh.

Balloon Delivery (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120470)

Ballooning, over land at least, seems like a sport revolutionized by cellphones. Combined with GPS, a ballooner can now land nearly anywhere safe, and just get picked up by a driver.

TROLL! DO NOT MOD Doc Ruby UP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120845)


You are a submarine troll. Know what that means? You post to Slashdot for a week looking for karma and then burn it all off on blatantly offensive comments. Remember that whole flaming tree you posted about a gay governor a few months ago? How about that whole unfounded Griffin critcism [slashdot.org]? And what about your nasty comment about someone's username [slashdot.org]?

That's *MR.* Self-Righteous Asshat.

Mods, don't feed this guy. Maybe without a karma stash he won't go on these trolling runs.

--
Trolling all trolls since 2001.

Yawn! (3, Informative)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120496)

How is this impressive, when Joe Kittinger [balloonlife.com] rode a balloon up to 102,800 feet (31.3km) and then parachuted out of it, breaking the speed of sound with just his body?

Re:Yawn! (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14120712)

breaking the speed of sound with just his body

I wonder what it sounded like to him? Or if he went deaf with the bang.

Uhmmm no.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120597)

Check your facts... The highest hot air balloon has gone over 100,000 feet. Not only that, but the crazy fucker jumped out of it at that height. Read up on Captain Joe Kittinger of the US Air Force. He did this back in 1960.

These Indians can't screw with US(A)... hell we did it 45 years ago.

--A Fellow Skydiver

Re:Uhmmm no.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120662)

oh dear - what a monkey

Re:Uhmmm no.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14120706)

Check your facts... The highest hot air balloon has gone over 100,000 feet. Not only that, but the crazy fucker jumped out of it at that height. Read up on Captain Joe Kittinger of the US Air Force. He did this back in 1960.

Wrong. Check your facts. That balloon was NOT a hot air balloon. It was a helium balloon. Here, you do the reading up and check it out for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior [wikipedia.org].

-- A fellow skydiver too.

That would be cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14121105)

If there was a way to make Slash convert data automagically to feet or meters according to IP range (or some other way to state unit preference).

So we, the entire world, would never have to see inches, feet, Fahrenheit again during our precious, but short, lives.

Just an idea...
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