Mission Control

As we continued in our adventure into HAB (High Altitude Ballooning), our main challenge was channeling 50 eager middle school students into productive work! We decided to tackle this by splitting students into 4 teams based on the main tasking involved. Each team was lead by a Director and Project Manager. Below is a description of each team.

  • Director: Provide leadership to complete project goals and assign tasking to team members.
  • Project Manager: Take attendance, organize materials, and keep everyone on task.
Meeting with Mission Control Team

Meeting with Mission Control Team

Mission Control

This teams focuses on the engineering aspects of the project. Students are tasked with building the payload and executing the balloon launch.

  • Research weather balloon launches
  • Determine FAA regulations
  • Determine launch procedures
  • Create pre-launch check list
  • Create safety protocol
  • Set-up equipment and practice launch sequence
  • Launch the balloon!
Mission Control working on the payload.

Mission Control working on the payload.

Mission Specialist

This team uses the scientific method to design and execute an experiment for space!

  • Research the upper atmosphere
  • Design experiment to send to near-space
  • Build payload to house experiment
  • Determine how to collect and present data from experiment
  • Disassemble payload and recover data

Recovery Team

This team is responsible for retrieving the balloon after launch using GPS technology.

  • Research Spot II Satellite Tracker
  • Research balloon recovery procedures
  • Determine equipment requirements
  • Create identifiers for equipment
  • Develop retrieval plan
  • Compile GPS data and create map
recovery team reviewing the Spot ii GPS tracker

recovery team reviewing the Spot ii GPS tracker


This team selects launch site and collects meteorological data during flight.

  • Research weather balloon launches
  • Research the upper atmosphere
  • Examine map and wind forecasts to determine launch site
  • Determine sensors for payload to collect flight data
  • Collect data and present results on flight

Planning to launch your own weather balloon? Tackle the ultimate STEM project with our all-inclusive classroom guide to launching a weather balloon PLUS links to a shared Google Drive folder with TONS of extra resources! Based on three years of successful weather balloon experience with over 300 middle school students, this guide is everything you need to design a payload, select an experiment, launch, and recover a weather balloon from a 100,000-foot journey to the edge of space!