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Raven Industries Scientific High-Altitude Balloon Breaks Records

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Feb. 6, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Raven Aerostar (Nasdaq:RAVN) is pleased to announce its involvement with four successful high-altitude balloon experiments during the current Antarctica summer. For each program, Raven Aerostar designed and manufactured scientific balloons to carry equipment to specific altitudes in the Earth's atmosphere. The success of all four campaigns has been overwhelmingly positive.

The highlight of this summer's Antarctica experiments has been the Super-TIGER flight, a collaboration between NASA and several major colleges. The balloon is studying the origin of cosmic rays. The Super-TIGER balloon surpassed the duration record for a scientific balloon flown from Antarctica, having flown for 55 days, 1 hour, and 34 minutes aloft. The previous record of 54 days was also set by a Raven Aerostar balloon during the 2008-09 Antarctica summer.

"High-altitude balloon experiments are something Raven Aerostar has always done and we are very proud of," Lon Stroschein, Raven Aerostar general manager, said. "Raven got its start in the 1950s as a balloon manufacturing company, and we have never forgotten those roots. We are proud of the resiliency and toughness of our balloons. I think that is why NASA and other researchers continue to work with us every year on their Antarctica projects."

Since 1994, Raven Aerostar has worked with NASA and a number of partners to manufacture high-altitude scientific balloons for a wide variety of experiments during the Antarctica summer. Because it is located in the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica experiences summer while the United States is undergoing winter. The continent combines a high-mountain desert with the coldest temperatures and harshest winds on the globe, allowing scientists to take advantage of unique and consistent wind conditions in order to easily launch and recover balloons. These balloons carry up to 6,000 pounds of payload and inflate to a size of 40 million cubic feet when they reach their altitude of 127,000 feet. Contrastingly, typical hot air balloons inflate to a size of only 90,000 cubic feet.

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