ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – An international team aiming to break two major ballooning records has finally launched a helium-filled balloon after experiencing delays earlier this month.
Pilots Troy Bradley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia set off from Saga, Japan, on Sunday shortly before 6:30 a.m. local time.
Unfavorable weather changes scuttled two previous launch attempts more than a week ago.
The pilots are looking to reach North America, an attempt that will put them on course to break a distance record of 5,208 miles.
They also want to break the flight-duration record set in 1978 when Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman made the first trans-Atlantic balloon flight.
The team's mission control is in Albuquerque.