Module, Balloon Equipment, Paragon StratEx

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

On October 24, 2014, Dr. Alan Eustace used a state-of-the-art pressure suit assembly to ascend to the top of the stratosphere beneath a large plastic balloon and sky dive back to Earth. He reportedly reached a maximum altitude of 135,889 feet.

This balloon equipment module contained the balloon avionics and release controls. The balloon was 11 million cubic feet and stood almost 400 feet high. At maximum altitude, it was 275 feet across. It expanded enormously as the balloon rose and was inflated by two long lightweight fill tubes attached at one end to the top of the envelope, and the other to hoses and diffusers fed from a tanker truck filled with helium.

The parachute pack functioned as an aerodynamic decelerator system as well as a load distribution system for the system and the structure from which the pilot hung during ascent. The system functioned incredibly well without any malfunctions or unexpected behaviour during any of the manned missions.

The Eustace-Kwan family donated this item along with the suit to the Museum in 2015.