World View’s stratospheric balloon spends a record 27 hours in flight

World View’s most recent Stratollite mission broke some records for the high altitude aeronautics company: the balloon-based stratospheric vehicle managed to stay aloft for around 27 hours during a mission carried out last weekend, which marks the first time it’s managed to successfully stay aloft and controlled through a full day and night cycle.

Why is that important for World View? Because ultimately, the company hopes its Stratollites will be able to stay aloft for weeks or even months, carrying payloads including sensor suites for high-res remote imaging and observation missions, for instance, and for observing things like the impact of large-scale commercial and industrial development without having to deal with some of the limitations of orbital satellites.

Part of making that model work involves flying its so-called Stratollites across a range of weather conditions and temperature differences – including the extremes that can occur between day and night, especially at very high altitudes. This latest mission helped World View show that it can manage those changes successfully, and it also marks the first time any high-altitude balloon has managed a controlled change of altitude while operating in the stratosphere.

This is a key milestone for the World View model, which also seeks to eventually bring human passengers up to the stratosphere and the edge of space with its Voyager balloon-flown crew capsule. We spent the day checking out World View’s HQ in Arizona earlier this year, so check out more about their business model and plans below: