The Australian National University’s #YerraLoon high-altitude balloon programme provides a rapidly-deployable and cost-effective platform for atmospheric experiments and testing of astronomical and space systems in near-space conditions.
‘Yerra’ is an Aboriginal word from the Ngunnawal language. It means ‘to fly’ or ‘to soar’.
Balloons are released from various locations in the Australian Capital Territory and regional New South Wales, most often from Mount Stromlo Observatory. Flights last up to two hours and typically reach altitudes of 30 km before returning to Earth via parachute for recovery. Landing sites tend to be around 100 km from the launch location and are predicted with good accuracy using up-to-date wind models.