November 7, 2009 California Space Grant / UCSD High Altitude Balloon Launch

Casey Barrett Explaining Payload IntegrationHands-On High Altitude Balloon ExperienceBalloon Just LaunchedHigh School Science Teachers Involved in Balloon Launch

Saturday’s high altitude balloon launch took place near the southern tip of the Salton Sea near the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. This change in location (originally scheduled to be Plaster City) was a result of weather prediction simulations showing where the winds would take our balloon and payloads. On the morning of the launch, the winds were headed south-east and we therefore shifted the launch site to avoid having our balloon and payload cross the U.S. – Mexico border.

UCSD faculty, students, and staff worked closely with teachers and students from The Preuss School, Lincoln High School, Helix Charter High School, and El Cajon Valley High School. All worked hard at incorporating their payloads in preparation for the launch and in working hands-on with mentors from UCSD. The students showed much spirit and braved the warm temperatures of the desert with gusto.

After the balloon was launched the teachers and students waited patiently for the return of their payloads. Lincoln High School put on a barbecue, students observed desert plant life, played football and board games, and watched UCSD Aerospace Engineers perform real-time tracking of the balloon using GPS and mapping software.

Results for the launch will be shared next week with the teachers and students. We commend everyone for their hard work and great spirit during this exciting day.

This activity was sponsored by the California Space Grant Consortium, a NASA-funded organization providing hands-on student-mentor experiences in Science and Engineering.

To view photos taken during Saturday’s launch, CLICK  HERE.