On September 1, 2012, The University of North Dakota and the University of North Florida collaboratively flew a payload onboard the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP). The HASP is an 11.82 million-cubic foot zero-pressure balloon that reached an altitude of 124,000 feet! HASP launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, and landed west of Phoenix, AZ. The UND team consisted of advisor Dr. Ron Fevig, student leader Marissa Saad, and a software/hardware consultant Jonathan Wade Snarr. This is the fifth consecutive year UND has collaborated with Dr. Nirmal Patel of UNF.
The UND and UNF 2012 payload consisted of a nanocrystalline gas sensor that successfully measured the ozone gas profile in the stratosphere. This was an improved version of the previous year’s gas sensor arrays, hardware, software, and payload. Two different groups of sensor arrays were used for the comparison of performance: (i) nanocrystalline ITO thin film sensors and (ii) nanocomposite ZnO-ITO and W-ITO sensors. The two teams will be analyzing and processing the data within the next month.
UND and UNF look forward to collaborate together again on future HASP launches. This could not be done without the generous funding from the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium. We also thank the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium and the NASA Balloon Program Office for this flight opportunity.