Nasa has managed to launch a huge super-pressure balloon in Wanaka, after four previous attempts were foiled by weather.
It launched its upper atmosphere balloon at Wanaka airport.
It's the fifth time the American space agency has tried to launch the 70m high research balloon, carrying scientific equipment.
Roads in the area were closed as a safety measure and inflation of the multi-million dollar balloon began mid-morning.
Once inflation started, there was no going back, as the balloon could not be used again.
The payload will be used to study deep space astronomy at a fraction of the cost of launching a satellite and NASA is considering establishing a permanent base at Wanaka if today's launch is successful.
Mission manager Janet Letchworth told Morning Report the weather had thwarted the previous attempts.
Ms Letchworth said the weather in Wanaka was usually very settled at this time of year, but the El Nino had made it unpredictable.