We have been thinking of using Aerostats/Balloons for an environmental monitoring project in our university. We have been considering 2 options: Tethered Aerostats (which fly upto 1 km) and Stratospheric Aerostats (upto 20 - 30 km).

As I was exploring the available options, I was surprised to find that Tethered Aerostats (i.e. low-altitude balloons, within 1km) have much less persistence in air than Stratospheric Balloons. E.g. Airstar's tethered balloons have maximum persistence of 15 days while their stratospheric versions can hover for upto 6 months.

What is the reason? Is it the wind speed? Or less density (but how would it affect)? Or maybe it's just they are designing the stratospheric balloons to last longer?

  • $\begingroup$ A good question... not sure anybody here is nearly an expert enough on such topics to have good input... but may get some more theorizing... $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Nov 2 '18 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ The site seems to have some imperfect translations of words at times. $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Nov 2 '18 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ I noticed the critical wind speed of the strongest troposphere balloon is only 150 km/hr (93 mph). But below 1 km such wind speeds shouldn't be very common. So I don't think it's that at those low elevations? $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Nov 2 '18 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ You should see this related post: earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/8/… I think the answer to your question is because a tethered system does not float freely and can be deteriorated or broken due to winds and storms. $\endgroup$ – f.thorpe Nov 3 '18 at 0:09
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    $\begingroup$ @JeopardyTempest Thank you for the warm welcome. Yes. I think moving the question to aviation forum might be better. But let's a little while and see what responses we get from here. $\endgroup$ – shivams Nov 3 '18 at 3:44

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