"America's OTHER Space Program"

PongSat Mission Away 21

This mission was loaded. Away 21 was a High Rack flight balloon flight with all the bells and whistles and over 300 PongSats. The mission tested a new ultra light tracking system and a new balloon release mechanism. The winds were dead calm at liftoff but fast at altitude. The vehicle climbed to 94,100 feet and landed 63 miles down range.







Mission Name

Away 21 - PongSat Mission

Date of Mission

December 8th, 2002


Black Rock Desert, NV, USA

Distance from Launch to Touchdown               

68 nautical miles

Maximum Altitude (GPS reported

94,704 feet

Average Ascent Rate

700 feet/minute

Temperature at Launch             

+12.8 C (+55 F)

Minimum Temperature          

-61.5 C (-78.7 F)


On board Systems:

Command/Control/Tracking telemetry system

Backup GPS telemetry system

Radio beacon

Hi8 Camcorder


RF balloon release system

300 PongSats

Backup balloon separation system


Away 21 before flight.jpg (23605 bytes)

Away 21-PongSatsBox.jpg (32827 bytes)

away21_almost_letting_go.jpg (27879 bytes) away21_its_going.jpg (25362 bytes)
  Away21_climbing.jpg (15301 bytes)


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This page was last edited on July 19, 2007
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