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NASA-Nebraska High Altitude Balloon Program

High Altitude Ballooning Workshop at Metropolitan Community College

The NASA Nebraska Space Grant is proud to announce that a workshop for the NASA Nebraska High Altitude Ballooning (N-NHAB) program is open for registration. This workshop will be a 1.5 quarter credit hour course through Metropolitan Community College, equal to 1 hour of semester credit. It is open to college / university students and faculty, and K-12 educators. The workshop’s maximum number of participants is set to 15.

Course Description: This course is a short workshop designed to introduce participants to the world of High-Altitude Ballooning (HAB). It provides the background necessary to design a flight pod with scientific instrumentation, and to participate in a HAB flight to upwards of 100,000ft (19mi) above the Earth's surface. Students will also participate in the tracking and retrieval of their payload, as well as the analysis of the retrieved data.

Course Objectives:

To help the student learn the skills necessary to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of how physical properties can be measured using probes for data acquisition; 2. Demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively in small groups to develop a research question and to solve a design problem; 3. Participate in a high-altitude balloon launch and retrieval of equipment; 4. Analyze data retrieved from balloon launch; 5. Effectively communicate results from data analysis; 6. Prepare for future HAB opportunities.

Workshop Schedule: MCC South Omaha Campus - Mahoney Room 400:

Friday, April 11th from 7-9 pm (Introduction and Background) Friday, April 18th from 7-9 pm (Development of Research Projects) Friday, May 2nd from 7-9 pm (Final Preparation of Pods and Data Format Overview) Saturday, May 3rd from 8 am-4 pm (Launch and Chase) Friday, May 16th from 7-9 pm (Final Reports)

NASA - NHAB Workshop Registration:

If you are currently a student at Metropolitan Community College, or have previously taken a credit or non-credit course at Metro, you may register by logging onto your My Way account from the MCC website. The course is available through Express Registration through the Student's section on My Way.

Metro's Main website: The course number is: PHYS_2900_9A The instructor is Kendra Sibbernsen Select PHYS - Physics as the subject, the course number is 2900, type in 9A for the section number, and select 13-14 Credit Spring for the Term. The class is called "Special Topics in Physics: High Altitude Ballooning." Select Register and Click Submit.

If you have previously taken a course at Metro, but do not remember your password, go to the “Password Station.” If you have not taken a class from Metro, here is the main page for prospective students: Since Metro has an open door policy, the only requirements for admission are that you are 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. A phone call or email to enrollment services should allow you to get a WebAdvisor login and password. You can sign up to take classes at Metro online through you WebAdvisor account (which is very simple to do), you can call and register over the phone, or you can go in talk to an advisor to register.

NHABThe 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 tripleBalloon & Payload 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

Nebraska High Altitude Ballooning Website



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.

Watch a Video of the Launch

High Altitude Balloon Workshop

Balloon LaunchMonday, 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 teamsNebraska Plains 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. 

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