By Kristian Foden-Vencil
An Oregon company is building a new high-altitude ballooning station in Tillamook. The Near Space Corporation is spending $6.9 million to build a factory and ballooning station at the Port of Tillamook Airport Business Park.
Company president, Tim Lachenmeier hopes up to 40 people will be employed when the station opens next Spring.
“The unique facility here at Tillamook is the blimp hangar,” Lachenmeier says. “While there are blimp hangars up and down the East and West coasts, they’re generally in high density areas, whereas here at Tillamook we have basically a really rural environment.”
Earlier this year, NASA selected Near Space to conduct commercial suborbital tests. Those involve flying a balloon carrying a glider to the edge of space, then launching the glider to test various instruments.
Unlike a normal balloon, which is at the whim of the wind, the glider can fly back to Tillamook, meaning Near Space doesn’t have to spend time and money driving across country, searching for its payload.
Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting