Balloon Flight Forecasting Tools

HYSPLIT Trajectory Optimization

This program developed at ARL (Draxler, 1996) can be used to visualize all the potential flow combinations from up to three different starting heights. The user defines up to three starting heights and the time interval (hours) at which new trajectories will be started from the location of the previous endpoints. The total number of trajectories will grow by t^n to a maximum of 1024 trajectories, where t is the number of starting trajectories and n is the number of times the trajectories split (n = run duration in hours divided by splitting interval in hours). After all the splitting trajectories are completed and displayed on a map, the user can plot the optimized trajectory, ie., the trajectory that comes the closest to a location selected by the user. This location might be where the balloonist would like to be at some time in the future and hence this program can help define the vertical and horizontal flight path the balloonist needs to travel.

Continue to Run the HYSPLIT Balloon Trajectory Optimization

UAH Balloon Launch

Todd McKinney, is already an experienced user of ARL’s HYSPLIT atmospheric transport and dispersion software, having used it for real time tracking of the super pressure balloon satellites, a program sponsored by the Space Hardware Club at UAH. Todd took HYSPLIT on a selfie stick balloon ride to 30000 meters, the lower reach of the stratosphere. For the full video (approximately 90 minutes), visit: For more info on the UAH Balloon Project, visit: