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A balloon is a flexible bag that can be inflated with a gas, such as helium, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, oxygen, and air.

In the aerospace context, a balloon refers to a type of aircraft that is lighter than air, and uses the buoyancy of a gas, such as helium or hydrogen, to lift off the ground and float in the air. Balloons can be used for a variety of purposes, including scientific research, atmospheric observation, and as a platform for payloads such as cameras or antennas.

Examples of balloons in aerospace include:

  • Scientific research balloons, such as the NASA's super pressure balloons, which are used for atmospheric research and for carrying scientific instruments to high altitudes for observations
  • High altitude balloons, such as the Google Loon, which are used for providing internet access in remote areas
  • Meteorological balloons, such as the radiosonde, which are used for measuring temperature, humidity and wind speed at different altitudes
  • Balloon-borne telescopes, such as the BOOMERanG and MAXIMA experiments, which are used for studying the cosmic microwave background radiation.

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