Up, Up and Away
An amazing opportunity was presented to us when a parent offered to help launch a weather balloon for our school. I’ve been trying to do this for a long time. When the student came forward and offered to have his father work with us I jumped at the chance. Awesome! That is all I could think. What an educational opportunity for my students. Plus, it fit in with the curriculum that I was teaching in class; meteorology. It also was an event the whole school could take part in. Which did happen.
The launch was sponsored by the Science Department and Space Explorers Club. Once we had our launch date, Earth Day, one of our students created a mission patch for the event. Using the mission patch we created buttons to hand out at Earth Day. I then had a student create our payload, he 3D printed the Banner for our Astronaut. It was a great opportunity to get students involved in the event.
So it didn’t go as planned, launch day had to be rescheduled due to weather. So we decided to launch the week after. And that was probably a good idea because the landing predictor had the balloon heading towards the coast, it seems the Jet Stream was pretty fast that day. Below you see the comparison between the predicted and actual path of the balloon. After launch we tracked the balloon to Pine Level, NC.
The balloon reached 92,000 ft, something we didn’t expect. Part of the payload were two PocketLabs, one we had taking readings of altitude and accelerometer. The other measured all the weather variables. You can find some of the information in the Google Folder. A video was made to commemorate the event, 2018 Balloon Launch.
Overall the event went well, but we are going to have to fix a couple of things. First the PocketLabs can record over 30,000 data points. Problem is that we didn’t set the sensors to take 1 reading per 2 or 5 minutes. Instead it took readings every half second. So it shut down too early. So reminder, change data point readings. Second, the Samsung 360 settings have to change so it can record better footage for stitching. Here is the final version of the 360 footage. And finally, we are going to let this be a student driven event. Meaning we are going to allow the students to pretty much take over the launch.
It was a great educational opportunity and we plan on having another launch next year.