High-altitude balloon passes over La Sal, visible from Moab

This high-altitude balloon has been traveling over Utah, Colorado, Arizona and other states in recent weeks. The company that makes it says it can stay at altitude for weeks or months at a time. Photo by Anthony Militano

People at a high school soccer game Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 17, spotted a large, balloon-like object floating in the distance, apparently over the La Sal Mountains, and later watched it float away southward over the course of an hour.

The sighting happened around 6:30 p.m., when a balloon launched by, according to previous reports, World View Enterprises, floated northbound to La Sal. The flight has registration number N103WV, based on flight tracks from service Flightradar24.

World View calls the balloon a Stratollite and markets it as a high-altitude payload-deploying mechanism that accepts sensors, telescopes, communication arrays and other devices. The company said on its website that it can control the balloon’s flight path by raising and lowering it into different wind streams, based on altitude.

St. George News previously reported that the balloon appeared over the southwest corner of Utah on Sept. 7, after traveling southeast from Nevada. The Durango Herald reported a sighting of the balloon over the southwestern Colorado city on Sept. 13.

After appearing over La Sal on Sept. 17, the balloon, according to Flightradar24 data, traveled south over Monticello and on to Bluff the next day. The Times-Independent asked World View for information about the flight path but did receive a response.

Ashley Bunton contributed to the reporting of this story.