Back Online, VGT-2 Rejoins Brother VGT-1 to Complete Another Lap of the Earth

Sun. Feb. 28, 2021
The Prep's globe-trotting balloons, KDVGT-1 and -2 completed their 3rd lap of the Earth on Friday, February 26. Until recently the two balloons have traveled the first two laps at between 90 and 180 mph at around 44,000 feet in relatively close proximity, mostly within 2-300 miles of each other. On this last tour, some twist in the wind patterns over the Pacific set them on separate paths as they left Japan, with VGT-1 traveling as far north as British Columbia after crossing the ocean, while VGT-2 dipped as far south as Mexico and, eventually, Tampa, FL. As a matter of fact, after 4 days of radio silence, VGT-2 was prematurely given up for lost in some circles, only to show up Friday morning over the Gulf of Mexico near Baton Rouge...
       [In the photo, the straight blue lines indicate times lacking telemetry]. The balloons are now separated by around a thousand miles.  A variety of reasons could have led to VGT-2's lengthy blackout: during the now 30-day journey, the integrity of the balloon material could have been compromised, leading to a RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly); or the balloon might not have soared within the necessary 200 miles of a radio beacon, in short supply over places like Africa, the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of western China or, as expected, the Pacific Ocean, or, oddly, Nevada. Additionally, they must be within range of a beacon during daylight hours, when the solar panels can provide power.
     And so, no longer soaring in their previously tenuous formation, vgt-1 and -2 now set off across the Atlantic again, attempting to compete a 4th circumnavigation of the planet. • You can follow "the boys" on their mission from the start and learn how to follow them on the web here.
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