NASA-Nebraska High Altitude Balloon Program
The NASA Nebraska Space Grant is pleased to offer the opportunity for students and faculty of Space Grant affiliates to fly scientific payloads upwards of 100,000 ft (19 miles) above the Earth’s surface. Our specialized equipment, developed by StratoStar Systems, allows for live data feeds from over 100 simultaneous analog and digital sensor inputs during the balloon’s flight. Altitude and GPS coordinates are also relayed live via a triple redundancy tracking system. As a special bonus, students, family, and friends can track the balloon’s progress live over the Internet. Each launch includes on-board high-resolution photographic and HD video cameras, with all of their footage shared among the HAB participants.
In upcoming months, Space Grant will offer a number of High Altitude Ballooning opportunities join our email listserv, or follow our Twitter feed, to be informed about these opportunities. If you have any questions regarding the NASA Nebraska High Altitude Balloon Program (NASA-NHAB), please contact the NASA Nebraska Space Grant office at NASA.Nebraska@unomaha.edu.
High Altitude Balloon Launch During Halftime at Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Game
On September 15, 2012 Nebraska native Clay Anderson was part of a High Altitude Balloon launch amid 85,000 football fans in the Husker Stadium. The NASA Nebraska Space Grant Consortium paired with the Strategic Air & Space Museum, UNL 4-H, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and University of Nebraska at Lincoln, as well as Omaha and Lincoln Public Schools to sponsor the event. The three high-altitude balloons launched were a part of several science experiments led by students and teachers.
The balloons were eight feet in diameter and filled with helium. Three of the balloons were launched at halftime during the Husker game. One balloon contained data collection devices for measuring environmental pressure. Another carried sensors to collect cosmic rays along with blood cells, motor oil, insects, and seeds in order to explore the effect had on the specimens by near space (where atmospheric conditions almost mimic that of outer space, with temperatures as low as sixty degrees below zero) and high altitude. The third balloon contained the banners of all groups who participated in the launch.
A chase team followed the balloons, assisted by the tracking devices on each. The balloons reached an altitude of approximately 95,000 feet (18 miles), before rupturing and descending via parachute with their payloads and recorded data. The journey was documented by the cameras that accompanied the balloons. This and the collected data is available online and is accessible to middle and high school students for future projects, as the launch was a part of NASA Space Grant’s effort to encourage science experiments at the middle and high school level.
High Altitude Balloon Workshop
Monday, Feb. 14. 2011. NASA Nebraska Space Grant, in partnership with Metropolitan Community College, offered a High Altitude Balloon Workshop January 14th & February 11th-12th. This was the pilot launch for Space Grant’s new NASA-NHAB Program. Four student teams launched an array of experiments into near-space, and chased the balloon over 100 miles away into NW Missouri. Later, student teams learned how to convert their raw feeds into usable data. Not everything went as planned, but this only added to the great adventure had by all.