Students launch data balloon

The full edge of the stratosphere is shown in this image captured by the balloon. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE —On May 1 members of the Gloversville High Altitude Achievement club launched their 10th stratospheric balloon since the club was started in 2015. The balloon was launched from a small town park in Greig.

Led by Christopher Murphy — High Altitude advisor and teachers-in-space director —and Eric Garippa — Earth and meteorological science teacher at Gloversville High School — the launch crew, Jason Dennie, Maya Rivera, Brent Muhlberger, Skyler Reed, Erin Clark and members of the Tryon Amateur Radio Club, chased the balloon to its landing in Sharon Springs.

The flight progress was also monitored by many HAM radio operators from Tryon Amateur Radio and Canajoharie Middle School students with Greg Pitonza, technology teacher. Canajoharie Central School provided the hardware and data service for the flight computer and ground receivers.

The balloon was carrying multiple sensors that collect atmospheric data such as temperature, altitude, speed, moisture, air pressure, solar insolation (UV), and payload orientation. The design, created by Edgar Barranco, Tryon amatuer radio operator and computer programmer, allowed for the data to be sent from the balloon to ground receivers and ultimately to the web for live viewing.

This launch data and video was the completion of a project with District 75 in New York City where students and teachers were able to see the launch and recovery live via teleconference.

This represents the standard payload sensors that became part of the Teachers in Space NASA payload standardization program.

“This program creates a standardized payload package that can fly on multiple spacecraft including the Blue Origin Rocket and the Perlan Glider” said Murphy.

Murphy, who is director of Stratospheric Balloon Experiments, traveled to Minden, Nevada shortly after the launch to secure student experiments for flight on the Perlan Glider in Argentina. The Perlan recently broke the world record in Glider altitude with a flight of 52,900 feet.

“It is all part of a process,” said Murphy. “It is a Teachers in Space goal to inspire teachers to help students develop real world experiments that are flown into the stratosphere and beyond. This year we are working to get flights for student experiments on the Blue Origin rocket.”

By Patricia Older

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