ALICE SPRINGS, Australia (AP) -- The pilot who hatched plans to circle the Earth in a balloon at a subspace altitude of 24 miles decided Tuesday to sit out the flight.

Bob Martin of Albuquerque, N.M., said he must accept responsibility for technical problems that have threatened the mission and that he would be the one to stay behind.Martin, Denver real estate developer Dave Liniger and Australian balloonist John Wallington have agonized since Saturday over who among them would remain on the ground after scientists said the balloon's crew and cargo were too heavy for it to safely reach cruising altitude.

The balloon needs to carry more ballast that the pilots can drop.