Sudbury

Canadian Space Agency set to launch stratospheric balloons in Timmins

Scientists from the Canadian Space Agency and their France counterparts, have returned to Timmins for stratospheric balloon launches for research.

'Ballooning is all about advancing science'

In this picture from the Canadian Space Agency, a weather balloon prepares for launch. (Canadian Space Agency)

It's an out-of-this-world project.

Scientists have returned to Timmins for stratospheric balloon launches.

They've been part of a research project since 2013, including teams from the Canadian Space Agency and their counterparts from France.

They will be launching large weather balloons from the Timmins Airport, beginning in late August. 

Sébastien Lafrance, a systems engineer at the Canadian Space Agency, said the research they're conducting will help answer important questions.

"Ballooning is all about advancing science," Lafrance said. "It's used a lot with climate studies as well. So it helps us better understand climate changes and get valuable data."

Lafrance said the team is also expecting to launch a telescope, to "better understand where our universe is coming from."

Timmins was chosen for the balloon launches because there are no mountains or oceans nearby, which make it easier to retrieve the equipment when it falls back to earth.

"We asked Environment Canada to look at climatology, so a study over the years of the weather," Lafrance said. 

"Timmins and the area around there came out as the place where we could get the lowest winds and the highest condition to be able to launch a balloon."

If weather permits, Lafrance said the first launch is set for August 25, adding that most of the launches will be conducted late in the evening when the wind is usually low.

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