All around the world at precisely the same time, weather balloons are released and rise to the top of the earth’s atmosphere. Sensors attached to the 5-feet wide balloons take snapshots of the weather every few seconds – temperature, humidity, pressure, and wind speed – as they rise up to 100,000 feet and drift as far as 125 miles depending on wind speeds.

National Weather Service balloon launch building sits on top of the platform Sealaska built in St. Paul, Alaska.

Sealaska Construction Solutions (SCS) is helping the National Weather Service (NWS) automate this process in remote places in Alaska to make more efficient use of its limited workforce. Specializing in remote construction, SCS works with engineers and local subcontractors to design and build the platforms housing specialized equipment from which the balloons launch.

Weather balloon launch platforms were under construction in Yakutat, Alaska, in 2017.

Last year, SCS built four sites in Alaska with a $2.4 million contract, including in Yakutat and Annette Island. Recently, SCS was awarded a new contract to build seven more sites for $4.4 million. Anchorage, Bethel, Cold Bay, King Salmon, Kotzebue, McGrath, and Nome will all be prepared for NWS to efficiently gather weather-forecasting data with their new balloon launch systems.

Check out this short video of a completed automated weather balloon launch site!


Sealaska Construction Solutions is part of Sealaska’s government services group, providing building solution leadership in an open culture between clients, subcontractors and the end-user.