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Super-Tiger Establishes New Balloon Endurance Record of 55 days+


The Super-TIGER (Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) balloon flight was launched on December 8, 2012, and floated at an altitude of about 125,000 feet. The flight was ended on February 1, 2013. This flight, after nearly three orbits around the pole, established a new endurance record of 55 days, one hour and 34 minutes. The instrument was dropped by parachute 350 nautical miles from McMurdo.

Super-TIGER is a heavy cosmic ray experiment developed by the Washington University in St. Louis along with a wide list of collaborating institutions that include the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, the California Institute of Technology, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Super-TIGER’s goal is to measure rare elements heavier than iron among the flux of high-energy cosmic rays bombarding Earth from elsewhere in our Milky Way galaxy. The information retrieved from this mission will be used to understand where these energetic atomic nuclei are produced and how they achieve their very high energies. So far, preliminary numbers mention near 50 million "events" recorded by the instrument in the entire trip, an amount of data that the scientists of the project believe will take about two years to analyze fully.

The instrument could not be retrieved until next summer. It will be shipped back to the States to be rebuilt and flown again as Super Tiger II.