Archeological Balloon Flight

We have been funding two of our MAE students, Casey Barrett and David Hernandez, to work on aerospace projects this summer, including an interdisciplinary archeological balloon flight project with the Department of Anthropology (Professor Thomas Levy), Calit2, and the California Space Grant Consortium. Below is a description of the project, written by Professor Levy.

    “The purpose of the Calit2 Archaeology Aerial Photography System (CAAPS) is to provide imagery of archeological excavations from a low altitude aerial perspective for digital site mapping and general photography needs. The system will be useful in the creation of a historical visual catalog that documents structures and important findings during the excavation. The system consists of helium filled urethane balloon positioned over the excavation. The balloon is tethered to the ground using a high strength SPECTRA line. Two Canon cameras are suspended from the balloon and remotely triggered via a wireless transmitter. In addition the cameras offer a real time live feed of the target (LiveView) that aids in the positioning of the balloon over the area.

    The project is led by UCSD Aero Space undergraduates David Hernandez and Casey Barrett under the supervision of PI Prof. Tom Levy from the UCSD Department of Anthropology and Center for Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) at Calit2. Levy secured the funding for this project through Calit2 which aims at deploying CAAPS in the fall at a major UCSD excavation in southern Jordan supported by the National Geographic Society. “

To learn more information on the archeological dig, visit the following website: