Balloon Launch Conclusion!

I know you have been waiting on pins and needles on the update from the last balloon launch failure! The students were very disappointed in the lost data, but they learned a valuable lesson of engineering. Failure is an integral part of all engineering, and it provides an opportunity to learn and try again! 

The last post mentioned that our next launch was scheduled for April 25th. Students prepared for weeks to re-build the payload and prepare the equipment. After much discussion, we decided to remove the audio beacon for fear of someone else finding our payload first. Instead, we added yellow streamers to help increase visibility, and I also purchased a fancy new GPS tracker, the SPOT Gen 3. We hoped this would provide more accurate tracking data for a more reliable recovery. 

Students spent weeks re-building the balloon payload and improving the design. 

Students spent weeks re-building the balloon payload and improving the design. 

April 25th came, but we faced another obstacle out of our control - weather! You may have heard of the flooding in Texas these past couple months, and we were faced with torrential thunderstorms on the day of launch. Unfortunately, the school principal made the decision to cancel the event. As an individual, having another launch is easy, but working within a school district, we were faced with many challenges including working around testing schedules and field trips. Finally, we were given the go-ahead to re-schedule for June 1st, during the last week of school. We needed everything to work perfectly this time because it was our final chance! 

So what happened? Did the students recover the data? Did the GPS tracking work? Did we get the Go-Pro footage? 

All this and more will be answered in the video below. I invite you to sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy our Journey to the Stratosphere!

A group of 60 middle school students, 2 science teachers, and 1 aerospace engineer joined forces to launch a payload 100,000 ft into the atmosphere. Watch the drama of our adventure!

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!