After 55 days, 1 hour and 34 minutes spent at 127,000 feet in the air, the Super-TIGER balloon (its official name is the Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder balloon) broke the record for longest flight by a balloon of its size, which was 46 days, according to NASA.
The team also broke another record -- the longest flight of any heavy-lift scientific balloon, including NASA's Long Duration Balloons. The previous record was of 54 days, 1 hour and 29 minutes was set in 2009 by NASA's Super Pressure Balloon test flight.
A new instrument aboard the Super-TIGER measured rare elements heavier than iron among the flux of high-energy cosmic rays bombarding Earth from elsewhere in our galaxy. The information retrieved will be used to understand where these energetic atomic nuclei are produced and how they achieve their very high energies -- and so much data was gathered, that it will take scientists about two years to analyze it fully.
Photo courtesy of NASA