I wondered if that was one of Raven's balloons. Couldn't find any info until today.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Oct. 24, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Raven Industries, Inc. (RAVN), in response to numerous inquiries, confirmed today that the high-altitude research balloons used by Austrian Felix Baumgartner in his recent record-setting Red Bull Stratos mission, were manufactured by Raven's Aerostar Division.
Raven Industries was founded in 1956 based on the product line of scientific balloons. The company's competitor at the time, Winzen Research, supported numerous manned science programs in the 1950s and 1960s, including Navy Project Strato-Lab, Air Force Project Manhigh and Project Excelsior. The latter two involved Col. Joe Kittinger, USAF (Retired), who was involved in science related to aeromedical effects and life support systems for space flight, as well as understanding the factors of survivability when ejecting from high-altitude aircraft. In August 1960, Col. Kittinger jumped from 102,800 feet performing a free-fall of 4 minutes 36 seconds and reaching a top speed of 614 mph.
Winzen's balloon division merged with Raven's balloon division in 1994. Raven has continued to develop and manufacture scientific balloons with ever greater capabilities in lift, flight duration and reliability for NASA, the Air Force Research Lab, as well as other agencies around the world.
"Raven would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Baumgartner, Col. Kittinger, and all of the Red Bull Stratos team and support members on a great accomplishment," said Mark L. West, Raven's chief technology officer. "Throughout our company's 56-year history we have been dedicated to furthering the science of these amazing balloons. We understand the level of technology, dedication and effort that was needed to return man to the stratosphere in this program. And we are impressed with the professionalism and concern for safety displayed by the entire Stratos team. We applaud their success."
Red Bull Stratos balloon quick facts:
Volume: 29.47 million cubic feet
Diameter: 425 feet (fully inflated)
Uninflated length: 592 feet
Weight: 3,708 lbs.
Type: Zero-pressure balloon manufactured from 0.8 mil high-strength polyethylene with one reinforcing cap
Some good videos of the jump even from the jumper's point of view. I now have tried to post an URL on Yahoo and see that they won't permit it any longer. Still, I'm sure if one types Red Bull Stratos into your web browser you will get that information.
My visit to the factory in Sulphur Springs has even more meaning for me now. Thank you Loren. The care and perfection of all those seams and the fabric makes it a very technical construction job on those very long tables. I told you that he said that if he were to touch the fabric, he would be written up. They have fingernail inspections on a regular basis and workers hands and outerware must be smooth. I was allowed to look but not touch (of course).
Also Loren described the acquisition of Winzen into Aerostar and this story reminds me of the company's name and that it happened in 1994. I think Winzen was near Sulphur Springs--in fact that factory may have been theirs originally.