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Wednesday 03 September 2014

An elevated view of the new Near Space facility. - Image credit: Near Space Corp.

An elevated view of the new Near Space facility. - Image credit: Near Space Corp.

Sub orbit

Near Space Corp. Building New High-Altitude Balloon Facility

PALO ALTO, Calif. and TILLAMOOK, Or. — Near Space Corporation (NSC), one of seven suborbital flight providers selected to support the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, is proud to announce the creation of the first commercial high altitude balloon flight facility. Located in Tillamook, Oregon, the $6.9 million first phase will include 31,000 square feet of construction. It will serve as NSC headquarters and will house engineering, manufacturing, payload integration, and flight operations at a single location. The new facility will enable an unprecedented level of responsiveness and an increased capacity to meet the growing needs of NSC customers.

Designed by LRS Architects of Portland, Oregon, the facility will serve as a central element within the new Port of Tillamook Bay Airport Business Park. Key features will include the balloon launch circle, the observation tower, the payload integration hangar, the engineering and administration offices, and the balloon production wing. Construction is planned to begin this spring, and NSC will move into the facility during the fall of 2012.

Commercial balloon flights to near space will be launched from the new facility, including several of those reserved through the NASA Flight Opportunities Program. Payloads ranging in mass from hundreds of grams to thousands of kilograms will be lofted to altitudes up to and exceeding 130,000 feet (approximately 40 kilometers) above sea level. At those heights, vital scientific research experiments and new technology demonstrations will be carried out in a space-like environment above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere.

About Near Space Corporation

NSC has completed more than 160 balloon flights since it began operating from Tillamook, Oregon in 1996. Its management team has more than 75 years of combined experience designing, building, and operating high altitude balloons. This includes the creation of a wide variety of platforms to support Earth atmospheric research, space technology development, and planetary exploration missions. The company specializes in providing affordable solutions to NASA, NOAA, DOD, and commercial aerospace customers. In addition to its Tillamook facility, NSC also maintains launch sites in Madras, Oregon and South Point, Hawaii. Visit http://www.nsc.aero for more information.

About LRS Architects

Founded in 1976, LRS Architects is an award-winning architectural design, planning, and interiors firm specializing in commercial office, retail, housing, interiors, planning and civic projects. LRS has undertaken 8 LEED certified projects, and is on track for certification for 5 additional projects, including LEED Platinum for the Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park which will be the first LEED Platinum project in China and the largest LEED Platinum project in the world when completed. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the firm has an office in Shanghai to better serve its clients and projects in China. Visit http://www.lrsarchitects.com for more information.

About the Port of Tillamook Bay

Located on what was formerly a U.S. Naval Air Station, the Port of Tillamook Bay is the largest tract of industrial land (1,600 acres) on the Oregon Coast. The Port is currently completing $44.6 million in infrastructure upgrades, new construction, and building rehabilitations. It is home to the Tillamook Airport, the Hooley Digester, and the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. Visit http://www.potb.org for more information.

About the NASA Flight Opportunities Program

The goal of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program is to develop and provide opportunities using commercially available platforms for space technologies to be demonstrated and validated in relevant environments. These technologies are expected to benefit NASA and other government agencies, U.S. commercial industries, and the public. Visit https://flightopportunities.nasa.gov for more information.

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