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High-altitude balloon explodes at Tucson launch site

December 20, 2017

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A high-altitude balloon has exploded at a Tucson launch site, but authorities say nobody was hurt.

Officials with World View Enterprises say the large balloon ruptured after completion of a successful fill test on the launch pad Tuesday afternoon.

They say there was only superficial facility damage at the launch site south of Tucson International Airport and the flight system wasn’t affected.

A loud boom was heard when the balloon exploded.

Company spokesman Andrew Antonio says the test was otherwise successful and “we’ll learn from this and move forward.”

The startup aerospace and space tourism company operates Spaceport Tucson under a contract with Pima County.

Antonio says the balloons can fly without tethers, are navigable and can carry payloads. He says they’re used for communications, remote sensing and monitoring weather.

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