Sounding Balloons

"Working with NASA engineers and flight crews to help affordably bring the science missions to life is rewarding for all of our employees. Raven Aerostar's mission is to remain the world's leader in sewing and sealing technology for all lighter-than-air applications. Proving that we can do it in the stratosphere and live up to NASA's high standard sets us apart from our competition."

- Lon Stroschein, Raven Director of Corporate Development

Short Duration Missions

Raven Aerostar’s Sounding Balloons are ideal for short-duration missions. A Sounding Balloon is designed to ascend into the atmosphere until the balloon becomes fully inflated, bringing its payload to a specified altitude. Once the pressure becomes too great, the balloon will terminate by bursting. Once the platform terminates, a parachute deploys and the user payload is sent back to earth.

Sounding Balloons are a highly reliable platform for scientific and military users that have been utilized for decades. Built for relatively light payloads and constructed from polyethylene, Raven Aerostar’s Sounding Balloons offer predictable, consistent performance. They can be readied for flight in as little as six months, employing an ease of launch that allows the technology to be quickly and successfully deployed from locations worldwide to support a wide variety of missions.

Mission Possibilities

  • Weather forecasting
  • Scientific research
  • Pollution monitoring
  • Remote communications
  • Calibrations
  • Research and development for new sensors

Solving Great Challenges

Raven Aerostar has consistently manufactured high altitude balloons since its inception in the 1950s and understands the engineering challenges in design, manufacture and operation of LTA systems. Our Sounding Balloons are manufactured from film that Raven Aerostar both engineers and manufactures.

Full Range of Capabilities

Raven Aerostar balloons are used in applications where reliability is critical. Aerostar’s flight operations systems and crews have an impressive success rate in conducting flight operations for customers. In dozens of flight operations per year, virtually every customer payload has been successfully flown and returned to the customer for data analysis.


Highly Engineered, Technologically Manufactured

A Sounding Balloon ascends until the balloon becomes fully inflated, bringing its payload to a specified altitude. The balloon bursts, and its payload is released to return via parachute. Most Raven Aerostar Sounding Balloons employ a burst panel, a rectangular piece of film that is installed in the balloon body and is slightly weaker than the surrounding balloon envelope material. It assures rapid deflation of the balloon at burst altitude. Balloons without a burst panel can deflate more slowly and take longer to reach the ground.

Sounding Balloon benefits:

  • Low cost
  • Vibration-free
  • Highly reliable
  • Quick response times
  • Short-duration flights
  • Near unlimited launch sites
  • Fully recoverable payloads