High Altitude Ballooning

July 19–25, 2015

Many of us dream of exploring space but there are only a few ways for a student to do so. Amateur astronomy and rocketry are two common ways, but neither can match the sheer awe of building and launching a private spacecraft. Although it is difficult to get into deep space, near space is within our grasp. High altitude balloons are unmanned balloons, usually filled with helium or hydrogen, that are released into the stratosphere, generally reaching between 60,000 to 120,000 feet before they burst and their payload is returned to earth by parachute. The most common application of these balloons is to study weather, but they are becoming increasingly popular with both amateurs and professionals as a platform for other kinds of experiments in the upper atmosphere.

Not only is high altitude ballooning a great way to introduce the electronics and programming skills needed to collect and analyze data from the spacecraft, it provides a fun way to explore scientific concepts from pressure, temperature and volume to cosmic radiation.

Students who attend this camp will gain valuable hands-on experience with electronics, programming microcomputers to collect data from a variety of sensors, building payloads, using a variety of cameras, planning flight paths, and flying balloons.

Students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year in the fall of 2015 are eligible to attend.