SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Oct. 24, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Raven Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq:RAVN) , in response to numerous inquiries, confirmed today that the high-altitude research balloons used by Austrian Felix Baumgartner in his recent record-setting Red Bull Stratos mission, were manufactured by Raven's Aerostar Division. Raven Industries was founded in 1956 based on the product line of scientific balloons. The company's competitor at the time, Winzen Research, supported numerous manned science programs in the 1950s and 1960s, including Navy Project Strato-Lab, Air Force Project Manhigh and Project Excelsior. The latter two involved Col. Joe Kittinger, USAF (Retired), who was involved in science related to aeromedical effects and life support systems for space flight, as well as understanding the factors of survivability when ejecting from high-altitude aircraft. In August 1960, Col. Kittinger jumped from 102,800 feet performing a free-fall of 4 minutes 36 seconds and reaching a top speed of 614 mph. Winzen's balloon division merged with Raven's balloon division in 1994. Raven has continued to develop and manufacture scientific balloons with ever greater capabilities in lift, flight duration and reliability for NASA, the Air Force Research Lab, as well as other agencies around the world. "Raven would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Baumgartner, Col. Kittinger, and all of the Red Bull Stratos team and support members on a great accomplishment," said Mark L. West, Raven's chief technology officer. "Throughout our company's 56-year history we have been dedicated to furthering the science of these amazing balloons. We understand the level of technology, dedication and effort that was needed to return man to the stratosphere in this program. And we are impressed with the professionalism and concern for safety displayed by the entire Stratos team. We applaud their success." Red Bull Stratos balloon quick facts:
- Volume: 29.47 million cubic feet
- Diameter: 425 feet (fully inflated)
- Uninflated length: 592 feet
- Weight: 3,708 lbs.
- Type: Zero-pressure balloon manufactured from 0.8 mil high-strength polyethylene with one reinforcing cap
CONTACT: At the Company: Tom Iacarella, Vice President and CFO 605-336-2750 Thomas.Iacarella@ravenind.com At Padilla Speer Beardsley: Matt Sullivan 612-455-1700 firstname.lastname@example.org