Raven Aerostar launches balloon, offers look inside mission control room

Local News

The sky was full of color as the sun came up in KELOLAND Monday morning.

“It was just a beautiful morning,” Raven Aerostar Flight Operations Manager Kevin Wolfe said.

But that wasn’t the only spectacle to see at the Raven Innovation Campus near Baltic.

Raven Aerostar sent a stratospheric balloon into the sky.

In this case, the balloon was being launched for a communications test.

“We’re really working on navigating our balloons, so we’re collecting information at 60,000 feet on wind currents, directions, temperatures,” Wolfe said.

As the balloon continued its journey upward, another team was at work in a mission control room.

“We’ve got people that are dedicated to our flight systems and making sure our platforms are performing the way they’re supposed to and we have other people that are dedicated to the data and being able to make sure we’re getting good data from the sensors and sources that we’re looking for,” Raven Aerostar Division VP & GM Scott Wickersham said.

Even though a balloon launch is quite the sight, the more impressive part is what it can help achieve.

“We’re an aerospace and defense provider. Being able to put something into the stratosphere so that we have situational awareness of all the things that could be going on around us, it literally connects protects and saves lives,” Wickersham said.

“It’s really amazing that a company here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is in the aerospace and defense technology market and we just do some amazing things,” Wolfe said.

Wickersham says Raven launches balloons all over the country, and even outside of the U.S.

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