Up, Up, and Away

by Alex Nakahara

For many, balloons are an anachronism. In days where jets carry us across the country in hours and rockets carry people into orbit, balloons appear useless. I can sit at  my desk and look at the Philadelphia Zoo Balloon, a mere amusement park ride for visitors, going slowly up and down all day, never going anywhere. At least their lighter-than-air fellows, the blimps, get to float above sporting events every weekend. Balloons are stuck as tourist attractions or the playthings of devoted hobbyists. However, balloons are enjoying a minor renaissance in an unexpected area: space.

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