A new generation of sub-orbital platforms will be operational in the next few years. These new telescopes will operate from airborne and balloon-borne platforms where the atmosphere is transparent enough to allow sensitive measurements to be made in the submillimeter bands. The telescopes will take advantage of state-of-the-art instrumentation including large format bolometer arrays and spectrometers. Other papers in this volume will deal specifically with the potential of these bands. In this paper we review the capabilities of the BLAST balloon-borne telescope.