JAXA, Japan’s space agency, sets world record for unmanned balloon

Japan’s space agency says it has set a world record by sending an observation balloon to an altitude of more than 53,000 meters.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said on Friday it released the unmanned balloon earlier in the day from a test site in Hokkaido in northern Japan.

JAXA officials say the balloon ascended at a speed of 250 meters a minute. It reached an altitude of 53,700 meters in 160 minutes.

The helium balloon is 60 meters wide and is made of a film just 3 micrometers thick. The agency says it’s the world’s thinnest balloon.

JAXA officials later destroyed the balloon by remote control. It fell into the ocean 150 kilometers from the test site.

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