REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - A large tethered balloon, called an aerostat, may be seen over western Redstone Arsenal from today through April 10. The aerostat, called a High Altitude Long Endurance Testbed, will be part of a disaster response communication experiment titled Flagship at Redstone's Test Area 3.

The aerostat is one of many existing and emerging civil and military capabilities and technologies taking part in the experiment; which will involve resources from the Army, State of Alabama, Alabama Air National Guard, and the Civil Air Patrol.

The aerostat is a helium filled balloon 75 feet long and 25 feet in diameter that will float up to 3,000 feet above the test area. It is capable of lifting a payload of approximately 200 lbs. of cameras and communications equipment, with power being supplied to the payload through the balloon's tether.

The purpose of the experiment is to show the utility of using a tethered aerostat, along with other civil and military resources to ensure continued communication during a disaster scenario where existing communications equipment is unusable.

The Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command is hosting this event to demonstrate SMDC related technology in a military support to civil authorities experiment.

The aerostat is being provided by SkySentry, LLC, from Colorado Springs, Colo., and was brought to Redstone specifically for this experiment.

Test Area 3 is on the west side of Redstone Arsenal, and the tethered aerostat may be visible from communities outside Redstone.

For additional information, please contact John Cummings at the SMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs office, (256) 955-1641/3887.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16