Raven Industries Aerostar Flies a New Revolutionary Design for a Stratospheric High Altitude Balloon Mission for NASA

New Construction and Design Increases Altitude Stability and Flight Duration

Feb 18th 2011, 12:42

McMurdo Station, Antarctica (February 18, 2011) – Raven Aerostar announces the successful flights of multiple stratospheric balloons, including the Raven-manufactured Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) manufactured for NASA.   

A 14 Million Cubic Foot (MCF) Super Pressure Balloon recently completed its 23-day science mission over Antarctica.  The balloon was launched January 9 from the Ross Ice Shelf.    For more than three weeks it flew at a consistent altitude of 111,000 feet with a deviation of less than 500 feet.  It is capable of flying a gross payload of 4,000 pounds.  Flight durations for super pressure balloons are of greater magnitude than conventional zero pressure balloons. While the balloon was showing no signs of stress, NASA brought the balloon down to ensure ease of recoverability of the payload, and the balloon community hails this flight as a tremendous success. 

A consortium of companies, led by NASA, makes up the Super Pressure Balloon Team (SPB Team).  Raven Aerostar of Sioux Falls, SD and Sulphur Springs, TX is the manufacture of the balloons for the NASA science missions. 

The material used in construction is a multilayer co-extruded polyethylene film made to NASA specifications.  It is very uniform in thickness and possesses outstanding heat seal ability. As a science benefit, the balloon flies at a very uniform altitude regardless of day or night cycles. Flight durations may be up to 100 days in length enabling new types of science experiments in the future.   Lon Stroschein, Vice President and General Manager of Raven Aerostar said, “Working with NASA engineers and flight crews to help affordably bring these science missions to life is rewarding for all of our employees.”  Stroschein continued, “Raven Aerostar’s mission is to remain the world’s leader in fabric sewing and sealing technology for all lighter than air applications.  Proving that we can do it in the stratosphere and live up to NASA’s high standard sets us apart from our competition.”

About Aerostar International

Aerostar International, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raven Industries (Nasdaq NGS: RAVN), a U.S. manufacturer providing Aerospace Products, Military Products, Tethered Aerostats, Protective Wear, Marine Navigation Products and Custom Inflatables to various markets. Raven Aerostar has been involved in lighter-than-air products since the 1950’s.  Today, Raven Aerostar engineers and manufactures aerostats for military and non-military use.  Aerostar also manufactures personnel and cargo parachutes for the U.S. Army, protective wear for all branches of the military, high-altitude super-pressure balloons for NASA, high-altitude airships for the Space Missile Defense Command and custom character inflatables for the largest Thanksgiving Day Parade and theme parks.

About Raven Industries, Inc.

Since 1956, Raven Industries has provided high-quality, high-value technical products.  Raven is publicly traded on NASDAQ (RAVN) and has earned an international reputation for innovation, product quality, high performance and unmatched service.  With strengths in engineering and technological innovation, Raven provides custom solutions including precision agriculture applications, high performance specialty films, aerostats for communications and surveillance, and electronic manufacturing services. 

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements regarding the expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future.  Without limiting the foregoing, the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” ”intends,” “may,” “plans,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.  The company intends that all forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.  Although management believes that the expectations reflected in forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance these assumptions are correct or that these expectations will be achieved.  Assumptions involve important risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect results in the future.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those relating to [inability to achieve objectives established for research and development activities], production inefficiencies related to adding new capacity and new capabilities to tethered aerostat production, variability of releases under [indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ)] US government contracts; or changes in competition, raw material availability, technology or relationships with the company’s largest customers—any of which could adversely affect any of the company’s product lines—as well as other risks described in Raven’s 10-K under Item 1A.  This list is not exhaustive, and the company does not have an obligation to revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date these statements are made.