Local | Science

Company Plans To Build High-Altitude Balloon Facility In Tillamook

OPB | Oct. 15, 2012 12:47 p.m. | Tillamook, Oregon

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The Austrian daredevil who took a balloon ride 24 miles above the earth, then jumped, has focused attention on the near-space industry.

Felix Baumgartner

Felix Baumgartner

Red Bull Content Pool

Now, an Oregon company says it plans to build a high-altitude ballooning facility 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.

Felix Baumgartner

Felix Baumgartner

Red Bull Content Pool

“The unique facility here at Tillamook is the blimp hanger. While there’s blimp hangers 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.”

The company helps scientists reach the space-like environment above 99 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. 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.

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