Gondola, Balloon, Don Piccard

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Physical Description
25in. long, 25in. wide, 45in. high; red, white and blue painted aluminum; manufactured 195
Summary
On August 17, 1959, balloonist Donald L. Piccard flew this red, white and blue metal balloon basket at a centennial commemoration of John Wise's Jupiter balloon flight from Lafayette, Indiana. The Wise flight was the first time that stamped letters, which had passed through a post office, were flown through the air. On July 19, 1961, Piccard launched from the Fairbault, Minnesota airport and rode the same gondola to an altitude of 34,642 feet, a world record altitude for gas balloons of this class.
Don Piccard, a pioneer of post-war gas and hot air ballooning, and a founder of the Balloon Federation of America, played a critical role in the development and popularization of modern sport ballooning. He is the grandson of August Piccard, the inventor of the pressurized balloon gondola, the bathyscaph for undersea exploration and the first man to enter the stratosphere. His mother and father, Jean and Jeanette Piccard, introduced Americans to high altitude ballooning in the 1930s. His uncle, Jacques Piccard, was one of the first two men to descend to the deepest spot in the world oceans. His cousin, Bertrand Piccard, was one of the first two men to fly a balloon around the world, non-stop.
Long Description
Don Piccard Basket
On August 17, 1959, balloonist Donald L. Piccard flew this red, white and blue balloon basket at a centennial commemoration of John Wise's Jupiter balloon flight from Lafayette, Indiana. The Wise flight was the first time that stamped letters, which had passed through a post office, were flown through the air. On July 19, 1961, Piccard launched from the Fairbault, Minnesota airport and rode the same basket to an altitude of 34,642 feet, a world record altitude for gas balloons of this class.
Don Piccard, a pioneer of post-war gas and hot air ballooning, and a founder of the Balloon Club of America, played a critical role in the development and popularization of modern sport ballooning. He is a nephew of Auguste Piccard -- the inventor of both the pressurized balloon gondola and the bathyscaph for undersea exploration and the first man to enter the stratosphere. Don Piccard's mother and father, Jean and Jeanette Piccard, introduced Americans to high altitude ballooning in the 1930s. His cousin Jacques, Auguste's son, was one of the first two men to descend to the deepest spot in the world oceans. Jacques' son Bertrand Piccard was one of the first two men to fly a balloon around the world, non-stop.
Gift of Donald L. Piccard
National Air and Space Museum
Rights
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Manufacturer
Donald L. Piccard
Dimensions
25in. long, 25in. wide, 45in. high
See more items in
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Location
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA
Hangar
Boeing Aviation Hangar
Country of Origin
United States of America
Type
CRAFT-Balloons & Parts
Inventory Number
A19750124000