Nasa comes to Wanaka

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By CHE BAKER

Wanaka Air­port will be­come a new play­ground for United States space agency Nasa, which has an­nounced a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar test flight of a sci­en­tific bal­loon in March. The rugby field-sized bal­loon will cost $1.5 mil­lion to build and weighs 4000 kilo­grams.

Air­port op­er­a­tions man­ager Ralph Fe­gan said the pro­posal had been in the pipe­line for three years, but ‘‘kept un­der the radar’’ af­ter the Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion iden­ti­fied Wanaka as a likely place for a launch.

When Fe­gan did men­tion the project people thought he was dream­ing and did not be­lieve him.

Af­ter the ini­tial meet­ings with Nasa rep­re­sen­ta­tives, he be­gan send­ing Nasa Columbia Sci­en­tific Bal­loon Fa­cil­ity site man­ager Danny Ball reg­u­lar Easter and

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