UND Space Studies Students Reach for the Edge of Space!
Early Sunday morning, while most reasonable people were fast asleep, a group of UND students were reaching for the stars!
In the middle of a farmer's field a short distance from Kempton, North Dakota, seven students and two faculty advisers launched a high altitude balloon to an altitude of 98,908 feet, approximately 1/3 of the distance to space!
These students were members of the UND High Altitude Ballooning Team (UND HAB), an educational program run out of the UND Space Studies Department. As part of this program students participate in every segment of the balloon launch including: building the payload, planning logistics for the launch, launching the balloon, recovering the payload, and processing the data after launch.
After the balloon was launched, students used HAM radios in their vehicles to track the balloon while they chased it across the countryside to its landing location 76 miles away in Twin Valley, Minnesota.
Shortly before finding the payload, student lead, Joshua Nelson said, "One of the most stressful moments of a balloon launch is landing. You never know where the balloon will land... In a tree? In a lake? In the middle of a bull pen? We have to ask permission from the landowners before recovering our payload, and you never know if they'll say yes!"
High Altitude balloon payloads like the one launched by UND HAB play a vital role in our understanding of the weather, and also can carry payloads studying communications, biology, photography, and mapping.
The team would like to thank the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium for funding this launch.
Questions regarding the UND HAB program should be directed to the team's faculty adviser Ronald Fevig: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Marissa Saad, UND Space Studies.