Ballooning across the ocean like camping in the sky
Ballooning across the ocean like camping in the sky Troy Bradley of New Mexico and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia set off from Saga, Japan (AP photos)
Ballooning across the ocean like camping in the sky
Lexile: 1290L

Assign to Google Classroom

An international team is piloting the helium-filled, Two Eagles balloon across the Pacific Ocean in an effort to break a pair of major ballooning records.

Accomplished balloon pilots Troy Bradley, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Leonid Tiukhtyaev (too-kh-TY'-yev), of Russia, launched from Saga, Japan, early Sunday morning. They're aiming for the shores of North America, an attempt that will put them on course to break a distance record of 5,208 miles that has stood for more than three decades.

They're also looking to break the flight-duration record set in 1978 when Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman made the first trans-Atlantic balloon flight. That record of 137 hours in the air in a traditional gas balloon is considered the "holy grail" of ballooning achievements.

Bradley has likened the journey to a camping trip in the sky. The balloon's capsule is about the size of a large tent 7 feet long, 5 feet wide and 5 feet tall and leaves the pilots little room to move around. Since they're flying at an altitude of at least 15,000 feet, they have oxygen masks and are bundled up to cope with the 50-degree temperature inside the capsule.

They have sleeping bags and a small onboard heater. The balloon is also equipped with a simple toilet.

The pilots have freeze-dried meals, fresh fruit, beef jerky and energy bars, along with lots of water. They also have a small stove for occasional hot meals. Because of the altitude and the inability to move around, however, they don't have large appetites.

Bradley and Tiukhtyaev have been sharing photos of the view from their carbon composite capsule via social media. Some show the sun peeking over the Earth's curve, while others show part of the balloon and spotty clouds covering an ocean of blue tens of thousands of feet below.

The team has been in constant communication with mission control, and updates on the balloon's location are being posted to social media sites.

The team's exact destination in North America is not known because the location will depend on the winds the balloon encounters along the way. As of earlier this week, the balloon was nearly two-thirds of the way across the ocean traveling 78 mph at an altitude of more than 20,000 feet.

Critical thinking challenge: What it the difference between the two records the team is trying to set. Is one record a bigger achievement than the other?

Source URL:

Filed Under:  
Assigned 21 times

  • JoeMuh-Ver
    1/30/2015 - 03:22 p.m.

    So I wonder if The balloon Has something on it that makes it go further of if its just balloons. And I also wonder why This is a world record, it's just a balloon.

  • JoeMuh-Ver
    1/30/2015 - 03:28 p.m.

    I want to know if they have something on the balloon that makes it go for that long of if its just a balloon. Also I wonder why this is a world record, it's just a balloon.

  • AlexisKrise
    1/30/2015 - 04:11 p.m.

    Why is it a world achievement? It's a rather stupid one if you ask me... There are some things that should be left out of the record book, unless you put it in the 'pointless world records' book. Just my opinion though.

  • SPDillon-Cas
    1/31/2015 - 08:51 a.m.

    I think this is cool, but at the same time I don't because if your balloon happens to deflate or get ruined you're stranded in the ocean.

  • HNia-Cas
    1/31/2015 - 09:41 p.m.

    I think that this is very cool, but I also wonder what is in the balloon that makes it float for that long in the air. I was also wondering what their back up plans were if something went wrong with the balloon and what they would do.

  • anad-Koc
    2/01/2015 - 02:22 a.m.

    I think it's pretty cool how a ballooning across the ocean. It would be awesome to ride one but I don't think I would do it because I'am afraid of sharks and for any reason that we get close to the water that is deep I get scared. I know it's funny but there is nothing I can do about it, I have tried to over come my fear but I just can't.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    2/01/2015 - 02:17 p.m.

    This is an interesting attempt to break two world records. I hope nothing goes wrong during their journey. Personally, I think they are brave for taking this chance, but I would be worried that the slightest mistake would cause the balloon to fall into the ocean.

  • jennaw-Koc
    2/01/2015 - 11:54 p.m.

    I think this is very interesting. I would love ot camp in the sky, then again I would be afraid that I would fall to my death after a while.

  • jonahh-Koc
    2/02/2015 - 02:14 a.m.

    The difference between the two records they are trying to set is one deals with distance and the other goes with time in the air. These are both really big records and they have the same achievement. For them to set both at the same time would be their biggest accomplishment.

  • antoniod-Koc
    2/02/2015 - 02:15 a.m.

    I feel that this is very interesting, but at the same time quite terrifying. I would be scared to look over the end of a hot air balloon and only see nothing but the ocean blue in all directions.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment