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I wonder where exactly on the balloon is its altitude measured. By the time a space balloon reaches its maximum altitude it is extremely large, the higher the larger. The record altitude for a balloon is 173,900 ft (53 km) by BU-60-1, but what part of the balloon did measure that value? The ceiling of the balloon? The bottom of it? The pod attached to it? If it was the pod, it would mean the balloon itself was higher.

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Per the description of BU-60-1 at JAXA it carried a suspended payload with several cameras and a GPS receiver to measure altitude. While the top of the balloon would indeed have been higher, the FAI rules linked by mins in a comment indicate that record altitude claims are read at the instrument, suggesting that the claimed altitude would be that measured at the suspended payload in this case. Though it would appear you could try to gain another 100 meters or so by mounting it higher up. Physics would tend to make this tricky and would impact the credibility of any serious program to do so (JAXA seems to have been more interested in total lifting capacity rather than peak altitude).

In anycase if chasing a altitude record it would seem better to cut payload mass (delete cameras etc) rather than trying to mount a payload on top and then need a counterweight at the bottom that is dead weight.

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