Throughout most of this school year, a group of third through sixth grade students in the Nucleus Science Program at Eagleville Elementary have been working on a high altitude weather balloon project to send into the stratosphere, to an altitude of approximately 90,000 feet. This was a monumental project for these young students who spent a great deal of time building and testing the equipment for this balloon and mentally preparing for this flight.
The balloon's payload included a flight computer that recorded atmospheric data throughout the duration of the flight, three cameras, and two GPS tracking systems. The balloon was also equipped with a radio transmitter that transmitted flight computer data from the balloon, including location, altitude, speed, heading, and temperature in real time during the flight. The data was viewable on the aprs.fi webpage.
The ballon was launched Thursday morning, June 2, at approximately 9 am. The entire flight lasted just over 2 hours. Viewers were able to follow Eagleville's near-space balloon while it was in flight using a tracking website:
Trackers were given the following directions to track the balloon:
"The Eagleville Nucleus balloon is radio callsign KD9FJA, you can enter the radio callsign of our balloon in the "Track Callsign" box. You can adjust the history and length of the tracking tail for the callsign using the "Show Last" and "Track Tail Length" drop down boxes. Clicking on points along the flight path will pop up a window with the flight data transmitted from the balloon. You can also manipulate the map for different views of the flight path, including switching between map and satellite views. The radio transmissions should commence shortly after the balloon is released, and will continue until the payload returns to Earth via a parachute."
A supplementary tracking system also helped us recover the balloon payload after it landed. Recovery of the payload was essential to recover our cameras so that we could see the video and photos taken during the flight, and so that we could reuse the equipment for future weather balloon launches.
We look forward to sharing the results of the Eagleville Nucleus High Altitude Balloon Project.