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After the flight to the ISS yesterday I am reading more stuff about mankind in the universe.

Reading about the Excelsior project makes me wonder what happened with the helium balloon after Joseph Kittinger jumped. I haven't found an answer to that, does anyone now?

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    $\begingroup$ After Kittinger jumped, the baloon raised a little higher due to the reduced weight. Of course the helium could not be recovered. When the baloon finally bursted, the helium was released into the high atmosphere and escaped to space. $\endgroup$ – Uwe May 31 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it is strictly about jumping from balloons in the stratosphere and does not have any aspects of spaceflight. I think Aviation SE is a much better site for this question and it will likely get answered there much more quickly. $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 31 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ Project Excelsior was done in preparation for manned spaceflight to study astronaut escape. So there is a relation to spaceflight. $\endgroup$ – Uwe May 31 at 10:17
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In general, those kinds of balloons cannot be reused. There was a concern, I don't know if it was a Manhigh flight, where one balloon had burst when strong winds bounced it on the ground, and the spare was used on another day. But the weather was iffy, and if that flight had to be scrubbed they couldn't reuse it once they had started inflating it, and they didn't have another on hand, so that could have delayed the entire project. Used balloons were sometimes given to farmers, who used them to cover hay. I don't know specifically what happened to the Excelsior balloons, but I presume they made it to the ground since the gondola was recovered and reused. Ground control could operate the valves in addition to receiving data, and they had a man on the team who could predict the landing site. But there is no reason they would have kept them.

If you want to read about that in more detail, you might look for the book The Pre-Astronauts: Manned Ballooning on the Threshold of Space, by Craig Ryan.

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