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Balloon, nonpowered, nonrigid, lighter-than-air craft consisting of a bulbous envelope that holds the lifting medium and a payload-carrying basket, or “gondola,” suspended below. Balloons may be captive (secured to the ground by a cable) or free-flying. Lift may be provided by a gas such as hydrogen or nonflammable helium or by heated air. Balloons are used in science (weather forecasting and astronomy), as well as for recreational purposes.

See also: Zeppelin, Ferdinand von.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Augusta to Barlach, Ernst