Katherine's guest this Friday May 1st is Julian Nott.
Nott is a founder of the modern ballooning movement and one of its most creative and innovative exponents. As of 2014 he has broken 79 World Ballooning Records, and 96 British Records, including exceeding 55,000 feet in a hot air balloon. His records span many classes - hot air, helium, super pressure and combination balloons - and encompass altitude, distance and time aloft.
Nott stresses that record-breaking is never the central objective. "Most of all I hope to use science to advance and innovate. But setting a world record is indisputable proof of the success of a new design." Indeed Nott is changing the course of balloon history: for detail click here for "INNOVATIVE DESIGN"
A pilot’s pilot, Nott is the only person ever elected to the elite Society of Experimental Test Pilots, for piloting balloons. Additionally, he has the distinction of being a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics, recognizing engineering experience. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has described Nott as “a central figure in the expansion of ballooning, as an organizer, pilot and most of all as arguably the leading figure in applying modern science to manned balloon design.”
During his long and extraordinary career Nott has undertaken a number of unique projects. He designed and constructed the first ever hot air balloon with a pressurized cabin, which Nott piloted to a world record altitude and which today is much copied. Other ballooning achievements include the first crossing of the Sahara Desert ; the first crossing of Australia; crossing the Alps; and piloting the world's first solar balloon across the English Channel. Nott also designed, built and piloted the Nazca Prehistoric Balloon, using only methods and materials available to the Pre-Inca Peruvians a thousand years ago. Nott is the first person to fly a "pumpkin" super pressure balloon. His concept is currently being developed by NASA as the "ULDB" for scientific applications; see "First Crossing of Australia". Nott holds US Patent 6,182,924 for an entirely new kind of balloon using cryogenic helium see "Design" page.
Nott was a member of the team who designed and built some of the world’s largest blimps and airships, including the US Navy Sentinel 1000 and the Shell Natural Gas Airship. He was a consultant on the design of the Fuji Blimp which flew over the opening ceremonies of the Los Angeles Summer Olympic games.
The importance of Nott's work has been recognized by inclusion in some of the world's most prestigious museums, including the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, where one of his balloon cabins is on permanent exhibition, New York’s Museum of Natural History, NASA’s Johnson Space Center Houston and in the permanent collection of the Royal Air Force Museum, London. See the "Museums" page.
Nott is a senior scientific consultant to both commercial and academic/government agencies including, NASA JPL, The European Space Agency, Google X, and the Loon Project. He has contributed to JPL’s efforts to launch balloons for space exploration to Titian and Venus for over 10 years and conceived, designed and built the first Titian flight simulator. In it he flew a model balloon at the lowest temperature a balloon has ever flown, 320 degrees below zero, a temperature assumed to be present on the surface of Titian.
Nott was a scientific observer on two airborne missions led by Peter Jenniskens, senior research scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute and at NASA Ames Research Center. The entry observing campaigns studied meteor storms and in one case, observed the reentry of the Jules Verne spacecraft after its successful mission to the space station. Nott is a strategic advisor to The Sentinel Mission, a historic space mission Co-founded by Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut and Ed Lu, NASA Astronaut on the International Space Station. Nott is an advisor to World View Enterprises Inc. the near space high attitude balloons, having himself designed the precursor pressurized cabin.