Renegade Space Balloon Creams SUV

Bystanders narrowly escape as Outback launch goes wrong
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2010 5:57 AM CDT

Bystanders at a botched space balloon launch in the Australian Outback say they're lucky to be alive. Strong winds caused the giant balloon to break from its mooring as it was filled with air. The attached car-sized gondola full of expensive scientific equipment smashed into an SUV and narrowly missed several people, the AP reports.

Spilled equipment—including a multi-million-dollar telescope researchers planned to use to measure gamma rays—was mostly destroyed, but nobody was injured. "Ballooning, that's the way it happens on occasion, but it is very, very disappointing," said the astrophysicist overseeing the launch. "Gut-wrenching, actually." The team aims to try again next month.
(More Australia stories.)

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