A cluster of color fills the sky during the first mass ascension at the 41st annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. (NASA / Jay Levine) › View Larger Image
Ascensions Create a Cluster of Color at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
The sky became a multi-colored tapestry as hot air balloons launched from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M., on Tuesday morning Oct. 9, the fourth day of this year's 41st annual event. The day also included several hot air balloon competitions and a slate of activities, concessions and exhibits, such as NASA’s exhibit featuring the agency’s aeronautics work.
Wednesday's schedule included a Flight of Nations Mass Ascension, where hot air balloons launch in waves at about the same time. Thursday features special-shape hot air balloon events and the rest of the week is packed with activities, as long as Mother Nature doesn’t spoil the party.
Wind and cold temperatures through out the first weekend of the annual balloon fiesta caused the cancellation of several events, including the mass launch of balloons on opening day Oct. 6. The balloon glow, where balloonists ignite the propane burners of their hot air balloons to make their airships glow against the night sky without launching them, was held as scheduled.
Better weather prevailed on Sunday with a full slate of hot air balloon activities, and enthusiastic fans were rewarded as they flocked to the largest hot air balloon event of its kind.
The NASA Exhibit at the annual balloon fiesta focuses on its aeronautics efforts conducted at four field centers across the nation: Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif., Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, and Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
After media interviews Sunday, former NASA astronaut Mike Mullane delivered two presentations to a packed house at the fiesta’s Discovery Center next door to NASA’s exhibit.
Mullane awed audiences with video, pictures and tales from his three space shuttle missions and the path he took to become an astronaut. Mullane, who resides in Albuquerque, encouraged youthful members of the audience that mathematics and science were keys to an astronaut career.
By Jay Levine, public affairs
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center