Near space missions are completed via high-altitude balloons. These balloons can carry a payload up to 12 lbs (without requiring licensing) to altitudes up to 120,000 feet. They are usually filled with helium or hydrogen. High-altitude balloons have provided a valuable research platform for a very long time. With current GPS technology recovery is much faster and more reliable, meaning more expensive equipment can be sent up with a reduced risk of loosing it.