Stratospheric balloons are powerful tools used to study the Earth and its atmosphere, as well as the greater cosmos beyond. This book describes the science and technology behind modern stratospheric ballooning, along with the surprising ways it has impacted our daily lives. The book takes you through every step of the process, starting with an in-depth introduction to basic balloon types and their uses before delving into balloon construction and mission planning. Along the way, you will learn about the novel technologies that have radically changed these balloons and their ability to launch, control and navigate them over specific ground targets. Next follows an exploration of their incredible applications, including research in atmospheric science, cosmology and astronomy, earth studies, meteorology, and aerobiology, and also commercial capabilities such as Internet networks and high-altitude tourism. The community of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs involved in stratospheric ballooning is only ever growing. This book shows you how these national and international efforts have truly soared in recent years, and it will be an enjoyable read for anybody interested in learning more about how science and commerce are conducted in the stratosphere, at the edge of space.